Enough with this nauseating rhetoric about Republicans pushing forward with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
It is not about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what she might have said on her deathbed … or about giving the next president (Biden) an opportunity to make his selection … or fairness in the process … or Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts on the issue … or what the likes of Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mike Crapo said four years ago. All that stuff is pure balderdash.
It’s all about politics, power (something Democrats don’t have) and putting a conservative on the U.S. Supreme Court. For decades, reshaping the court has been the Holy Grail for Republicans and they have the opportunity to get that done before the election. Barrett’s nomination should sail through, with the blessing of Crapo and fellow Idaho Sen. Jim Risch.
Sure, there are some mild risks involved for Republicans by putting this vote on the fast track. Voters might be outraged enough to vote against Trump and give Democrats control of the Senate. We’ll find out those things soon enough. But a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court is too much for Republicans to pass up.
Joe Biden, no doubt, will balance out things if he wins, but conservatives could have an even stronger stranglehold on the high court if Trump is re-elected.
That prospect should keep more than a few Democrats awake at night.
We’re hearing plenty about what those mean-old Republicans are doing, but if the situation were reversed, you can bet that the Democrats would do the same thing. Democrats had control of the Senate four years ago, Merrick Garland (President Obama’s nominee) would be on the Supreme Court today, and much of the media would be celebrating the newest liberal justice.
Yes, Virginia, they do play politics with Supreme Court nominations. And no political story is complete without at least a few instances of hypocrisy.
Four years ago, here’s what Crapo said about Obama’s Supreme Court nomination: “The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that affect every American and shape our nation’s legal landscape for decades. Therefore, the current Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by an individual nominated by the next president of the United States.”
However, that statement tells only part of the story. Crapo opposed Garland from the get-go, saying the nominee didn’t share “Idaho’s values” on gun rights. So, of course, he was going to say that the nomination should be left to the next president – especially since there was a fair chance that Trump would win.
Risch came under fire four years ago for refusing to meet with Garland. Risch figured – correctly so -- that a meeting would be a waste of time since Garland’s nomination didn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting a hearing, winning committee approval and getting to the floor.
Crapo and Risch are frequent targets of liberal opinion writers, basically because they don’t think, act or vote like Democrats. But in Washington’s political zoo, few senators cross party lines on partisan issues (see Trump’s impeachment trial). So, if towing the party line is the definition of a “political hack” – as some opinion writers seem to think -- then we have close to 100 of those sitting in the U.S. Senate.
Crapo and Risch are not blatant about the partisanship, at least with their press statements. Crapo reminds everybody that that the Constitution gives the president the right to make nominations to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate.
As for Risch, he says, “I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of my office, and will weigh nominees to the Supreme Court based on their merits, not on whether there’s an election coming up. Should a nominee come before the full Senate for consideration, I will weigh that individual based on their character, intellect, conservative record and respect for the U.S. Constitution and vote accordingly.”
It shouldn’t take Risch and Crapo more than a minute or two to “weigh” this one.
Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org