Publisher Bill Bowman yields his space this week to former Up & Coming Weekly contributor Karl Merritt. This article first appeared at www.karlmerrit.com.
I am watching with sadness, but with a higher level of hope, as the wheels of government churn to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My sadness regarding the general state of our country is not new, but this higher level of hope for America is a rare experience for me in the context of the past few years.
I suppose my hope comes from the fact that Republicans in the Senate have apparently awakened to the truth of something former President Obama said to a group of them years ago.
In a meeting with Republican Congressional leaders during 2009, then President Barack Obama said to them, “Elections have consequences and at the end of the day, I won.”
This was a time when Democrats had a majority in the House and Senate.
Then came 2016 and a Supreme Court vacancy during the last year of Obama’s second and final term. Republicans held the majority in the Senate. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (Rep), said there would not be a vote on a nominee until the next president was in office. Democrats were outraged. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, nominated Neil Gorsuch, and he was confirmed by the Senate that still had a Republican majority.
Now comes the current vacancy and McConnell says when President Trump submits a nominee, there will be a vote prior to the 2021 inauguration. Democrats are outraged again because they say this is hypocrisy on the part of Republicans.
As of 25 September, it appears Republicans have the votes to confirm a person nominated by Trump.
Democrats are making all kinds of threats as to what they will do if this nomination goes forward. These threats are being made even though Trump has a constitutional right and responsibility to put forth a nominee. One threat is to impeach Trump again and, by so doing, slow the confirmation of a justice. Beyond that, they are threatening to, if they win the presidency, House and Senate, add seats to the Supreme Court (making it more political); ending the filibuster (requires 60 votes to stop debate on some issues) in the Senate; making the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states because they are very heavily Democratic areas.
As I finish this post, several Democrats are backing away from some items in this threat package and moving to talking about how health care and some other issues, by Democratic priorities, would be adversely impacted by a Trump nominated justice.
In the face of these threats, I would expect Republicans to “roll-over” and do as the Democrats say.
Apparently, enough Senate Republicans recognize that elections have consequences and they won. Beyond that, they understand that if Trump loses and Biden gets to nominate the Ginsburg replacement, it will be a liberal who believes he or she gets to make laws according to their views rather than simply interpreting the Constitution and laws legitimately passed by legislative bodies.
Forthrightly examining the facts and adjusting course is not hypocrisy. In this case, that means looking at the destruction brought on America by liberal justices making laws instead of interpreting laws that have been, by proper procedure, put in place.
Be advised, there are at least two Republican senators who apparently do not understand this argument that says there are times when one must stand up and do what is right for the country. They are Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. These two senators hold that the next president should make the nomination. Under pressure from Democrats, I expected this kind of response from more Republican Senators. So far, surprise-surprise.
Here is a closing question: Who out there believes that if Democrats were faced with the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice under the conditions now faced by Republicans, that Democrats would leave the selection to the next president?