Surfing the Sunday Shows–
Watching Mitch McConnell on This Week with Martha Raddatz, I began to wonder if a Senator could be impeached for hypocrisy. Why pick on Kentucky-fried Mitch, you ask. Because Mitch McConnell, currently the US Senate Majority Leader, once said this in October, 2010:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president;”(1)
When Justice Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016 and Obama prepared to nominate his replacement McConnell said:
“The Republican Senate will not permit such a consequential nomination — which would radically shift the balance of ideological power on the court — to go forward.”(2)
I’ve said repeatedly and I’m now confident that my conference agrees that this decision ought to be made by the next president, whoever is elected.”(3)
Where in the US Constitution does it say that if a Supreme Court Justice dies in an election year, the next president gets to nominate the new Justice? ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!
I just spent a few hours actually reading the US Constitution and all of its Amendments, something I rather doubt Mitch McConnell has ever done, judging from his complete disregard for said document. Only in Article II, Section 2 could I find any mention of the nomination of Supreme Court Justices. Below, I have provided the exact wording with nothing left out or put in. The “he” refers to the president.
“…and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court and all other offices of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise herein provided for and which shall be established by law.”(4)
So what gives Mitch McConnel the right to create his very own 28th Amendment limiting President Obama’s term to 3 years and 24 days? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
For that matter, what is “Advice and Consent? And how does that translate to confirmation hearings? We can blame Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution for that, which says: “each house may determine the rules of its proceedings.” Yes, a long and ever-changing list of Senate Rules governs confirmation proceedings.(4)
One of those Senate Rules allows for filibuster during a Supreme Court Confirmation and requires a 60-member or 3/5 majority vote. This week, after the Republican pow-wow in Philadelphia, POTUS came out swinging, prodding McConnell to invoke the “nuclear option,” a change in Senate Rules reducing the required majority from 60 to 51 votes, so as to override any Democratic filibuster. (5)
Democrats triggered the option in 2013, to break an interminable log jam for confirmations of Obama’s judicial and executive nominees, an action cited by a host of conservative publications this week, preparing us for the inevitable tit-for-tat maneuver.
POTUS is slated to announce his SCOTUS nominee on Thursday and this morning, Sunday, January 29, 2017, McConnell had the audacity to say, regarding Trump’s nominee, that the Democrats,
“should give him an up or down vote.”(6)
A sentiment consistent with this 2005 McConnell statement:
“Any President’s judicial nominees should receive careful consideration. But after that debate, they deserve a simple up-or-down vote. . .”(7)
If I thought it would do any good, I would sky write this above the Capitol dome:
WHAT HAPPENED TO MERRICK GARLAND’S UP OR DOWN VOTE?
Unfortunately, impeaching Mitch McConnell for hypocrisy is not an option– those pesky Senate Rules do not allow for a US Senator to be impeached– only expelled or censured, (usually for maleficence) both impossible as long as the Republicans hold the Senate majority.
But in less than two years–November, 2018–there will be a crucial election– yes, we have elections in even years between presidential elections called “midterms,” when the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate are up for re-election. (That’s also in the Constitution.) Keep in mind, if you want to turn the clock back to 1952 on civil rights and universal equality, if you are comfortable with the Republican three-branch government monopoly, then by all means, stay home and don’t trouble yourself to vote. After all,
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
— Abraham Lincoln
- Kessler, Glenn; When Did Mitch McConnel Say He Wanted to Make Obama a One-Term President; The Washington Post, Jan. 11: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/11/when-did-mitch-mcconnell-say-he-wanted-to-make-obama-a-one-term-president/?utm_term=.d1f6eb4d8e0e
- Shiner, Meredith; Republicans’ Vow to Block Obama Supreme Court Nominee Comes with Risk; https://www.yahoo.com/news/republicans-vow-to-block-obama-supreme-court-011758577.html
- Raju, Manu; Senate GOP: No Hearing for Supreme Court Nominee; http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/23/politics/joe-biden-supreme-court-senate-republicans/index.html
- Norton, Mary Beth et.al., A People and a Nation; Houghton, Mifflin, 1986: pps. A-6-15.
- Everet, Burgess; SCOTUS Nominee; Politico, 1/26/17. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-supreme-court-nuclear-option-234221
- ABC This Week with Martha Raddatz; Transcript: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-29-17-sean-spicer-sen-mitch/story?id=45112815
- Bernstein, Steve; These Quotes About Replacing Supreme Court Justices are Haunting Mitch McConnell. http://occupydemocrats.com/2016/02/15/these-quotes-about-replacing-supreme-court-justices-are-haunting-mitch-mcconnell/
- Lincoln, Abraham; AZ Quotes: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/371655