Undoubtedly, if there was any year worthy of stealing the title to Stanley Kramer’s 1963 classic comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it would be 2020. The passing last week of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a.k.a. “The Notorious RBG”) has dropped a bomb on the political landscape less than 50 days before the election. The Democrats who were demanding a vote on Merrick Garland in 2016 are now demanding no nominations or confirmation until after the election.
While he may be splitting hairs, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had vowed to move forward with a confirmation before the vote, justifying his change on the issue of “nominations in an election year” on the fact that the government was divided then, but not divided now.
In 2016, McConnell couched the primary reason for waiting until after the election in 2016 was the fact there was divided government in 2016, with the White House controlled by the Democrats and the Senate by Republicans. By waiting until after the election, as the editors of National Review point out in an op-ed, “the voters should be asked to break the deadlock between two branches they elected.”
That is not the case in 2020. In the last Presidential election (2016) and the last three Senate elections (2014, 2016, and 2018), the voters have chosen to back Republicans.
But the argument is not really about which party controls what and when. It is about the Senate’s role to “advise and consent.”
Yes, the President nominates, which Barack Obama did in 2016 and Donald Trump will do in 2020, but it is up to the Senate to “advise and consent,” not just “rubber stamp” the President’s wishes. The President’s right to nominate is absolute, but so is the Senate’s right to vote or not vote on that nomination.
Democrats are convulsing about the possibility that between now and January 20, even if Biden wins on Nov. 3 (or 4, or 5, or 6, or Thanksgiving), Donald Trump will be able to cement a conservative majority on the Court for a generation.
They are mad about the lack of Republican respect for RBG’s “dying wish” that Donald Trump not appoint her replacement.
However, Ginsburg herself said in a 2016 interview with the New York Times regarding Merrick Garland’s confirmation, “There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year.”
To put it another way, as a friend of mine on Facebook quipped, “I have reviewed my copy of the Constitution and I cannot locate the ‘dying wish’ clause.”
The fever-pitched, over-the-top (dare I say “mad”) reaction of the left has brought up the “I” word again, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreeing with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that the House could move to impeach President Trump or AG Barr as a “stall tactic.”
The absolute arrogance of the Democrats and disrespect for the Constitution and rule of law is maddening! Impeachment is only for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not a trigger to be used as a “stall tactic” to stop the President and Senate from exercising their Constitutional obligations.
Yes, a bit of politics was played with Merrick Garland, however, the so-called “Biden Rule” about Supreme Court appointments in a Presidential Election year is politics as well. It was well and good for Mitch McConnell to use the short-sighted pontification of the then Vice-President against him when Biden, as a Senator in a Democratic Majority Senate was looking down Pennsylvania Avenue at a Republican President George H. W. Bush, and was chomping at the bit for the first Democratic controlled government in 12 years.
It was the Democrat’s rule, and we used it against them. That is how politics is played. Or as my mother often said, “Be careful what you wish for.”
That is why elections matter.
For now, the President and Senate should move forward with a nomination. That was Ruth Bader Gingburg’s and Joe Biden’s wish in 2016 (be careful what you wish for). The people have spoken, and they have put the Republicans in control of the White House and Senate. If they wanted divided government, that opportunity came and went in 2018.
If the voters are upset with the President and Senate’s decision, they can elect Joe Biden and a Democratic majority in both chambers in 2020 and the Democrats can move forward with their promise to increase the Supreme Court by four to six seats, allowing
Kamala Harris Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer to pack the court and create a 9 to 6 liberal majority…assuming no conservatives leave the Court in the next four years, giving the Democrats a chance to appoint two or three more liberals to the Court.
It’s a mad, mad, mad mad world, and in the next 45 days, it is going to get a lot madder.