Well, he did it before. At the time Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) blocked Bobo Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. His reasoning was simple. He wanted to see what the will of the voters had to say about it, and with an upcoming election in just a few months, and pointing to history, it made sense with plenty of precedence on the books to hold off with any appointment confirmation.
All of that was well and good until Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away less than two months before the 2020 election. And, all indications were at the time that Trump probably was in a dogfight for reelection, but could beat Joe Biden. McConnell reversed himself (not usually a good thing), and decided that it was time to actually go through and nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the high court and have her seated prior to the election. That way IF there were reason for the Supreme Court to step in, ala 2000, then they would certainly have a conservative majority on the court.
That’s very partisan thinking, and of course, it drew more than ire from the Democrats who saw a very liberal seat being swapped out for a very conservative seat.
Now, McConnell is at it again. With Justice Stephen Breyer, who’s 82, being told by Democrats everywhere that he faces the same problem that RGB faced if he doesn’t retire, and that a 6-3 conservative court could actually go to 7-2 if Biden or the Democrats don’t win an election in 2024. Breyer has basically resisted the call for him to retire early, allowing for the Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins, and the White House, would have the chance to at least hold on to that seat. But McConnell has signaled that if the Republicans retake the Senate in 2022, which is likely at this point with several Democrat seats in doubt, that he might just forego an appointment confirmation during calendar year 2024.
Talk about throwing gasoline on the fire! First off, as a conservative, that would make me happy to see Democrats stew and steam over that one, knowing full well there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it but cry. And truthfully, I really do enjoy seeing Democrats cry. But as a consistency guy, it kind of roils me. If you’re going to do one thing when a Democrat is in the White House and the Republicans control the Senate, and then switch out and do the opposite when the same party controls both, I have a problem with that. And yes, I know history is on the side of what McConnell did in Barrett’s case. But still, it’s not consistent. Leaving partisan politics out of it, if you’re not going to let Garland get an up or down vote, you should have done the same thing with Barrett.
And you certainly don’t come out three years ahead of time and announce that IF you retake the Senate, and IF Breyer were to leave or pass away in 2024, you wouldn’t be entertaining any nomination that year, I can see how Democrats would want to pack the court. I’m not saying I would agree with either side. I’m saying that I can see how both sides would be enraged.
So, how do you solve this mess? Hey, if Breyer were to retire early, there would be no problem, and actually, I agree with the McConnell and Trump of 2020. When someone dies you have the duty according to the Constitution to appoint, as President, a new Justice to the Supreme Court. And regardless of party affiliation, if that happens, you have a duty as the Senate to advise and consent and approve that nomination. The rest of it is politics. And we’re never going to solve anything in DC playing politics. I think we’ve all learned that much since Bobo took office in 2009.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!