Witt: McConnell acts as silent enabler
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said: “We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” immediately after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court.
So, Sen. McConnell wants to move forward as quickly as possible for the Senate to hear and affirm the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice.
Of course, he does. Like Justice Neil Gorsuch, the replacement for Justice Kennedy will be an appointee of a Republican president.
But our hypocritical senator from Kentucky wasn’t quite so willing to move forward when Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama to replace Justice Scalia.
Back in 2016, with more than 10 months left in President Obama’s term, it was McConnell who used the feeble excuse that a lame duck president should not be the one placing a new justice on the court, even though there was a precedent for this action.
Every president, as soon as he enters the office, is a lame duck. He may be in office for the next eight years, but at some point, he will be leaving, and the public knows precisely the latest date at which he will be doing so, making him a lame duck as much as the president who has less than a year left in office.
Sen. McConnell, in his floor speech, went on to say, “It’s imperative that the president’s nominee be considered fairly…”
Just how fairly was Garland considered, considering that he was not even given a hearing?
McConnell further saud: “Judges must interpret the law fairly and apply it even-handedly. Judicial decisions must not flow from judges’ personal philosophies or preferences, but from an honest assessment of the words and actual meaning of the law.”
It is perhaps here that the extent of the senator’s hypocrisy is most transparent.
If the senator — and his cohorts who participated in withholding consideration of Judge Garland — believed these words, they would have had no reluctance in assessing the qualifications of Garland.
But McConnell knew then, just as he does now, that no one enters the Supreme Court entirely devoid of preferences and pre-conceived notions about how the laws of the land should be interpreted.
And that is why he held up the nomination of Garland, because he knew the judge was liberal-leaning, just as any nomination that comes down from President Donald Trump is going to be a person with decidedly conservative views, views which will undoubtedly be reflected in his or her opinions about future cases before the Court.
The Kentucky senator walks with feet of clay. He professes high ideals, but only applies those ideas to those who he thinks will follow his party line.
He is the same kind of turncoat that our current president has proven to be.
McConnell was not the least bit silent during the last presidential election in letting people know that he did not admire Trump.
But once the election was over and Trump was president, McConnell has become a silent enabler, only capable of supporting the divisive tactics of the administration.
And his willingness to quickly “advise and consent” the upcoming nomination for the next Supreme Court justice is just further evidence of his duplicity.
Maybe the memory of the electorate will last until 2020.
Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.