The Hypocrisy of It All

A presidential election is just a few weeks away.  Republicans and democrats alike are sniping at one another.  President Donald Trump is on the ropes, and Joe Biden cannot believe that he may just become President after several failed tries. And then Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies last Friday bringing more drama to the continuing soap opera we call our federal government.  President Trump will make an announcement of his pick within a few days.  Democrats say wait for a new Supreme Court nominee until after the election.  Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell says he will move forward with President Trump’s nominee and bring a confirmation vote to the Senate floor.  My how have positions have changed.

In 2016, President Barrack Obama, in his last year in office, nominated Judge Merritt Garland to the Supreme Court.  Republicans yelled foul.  Wait until the next president is installed after the upcoming election they shouted. Democrats cried that it is the president’s job to nominate Supreme Court Justices and the senate’s job to vote on the confirmation of that appointment.

Wait!  Is this correct?  Four years ago, republicans said slam on the brakes citing the “Biden Rule”[1] and democrats with a democrat president said move forward ignoring the “Biden Rule.”  Now republicans say move forward with a republican president and democrats say slam on the brakes!  What is going on?  Well, plain and simple, it is called politics.  Not good government or genuine disagreement over policy.  It is politics.  Democrats want to name the next justice and so do the republicans.  

With Trump trailing in state and national polls, republican Senators see this nomination as their last chance for at least the next four years to confirm an appointment to the Supreme Court and to set a conservative agenda that will likely stick around for a very long time to come.  And now democrats who hope to gain control of the Senate in November’s election threaten to stack the Supreme Court with their own appointments by arbitrarily increasing the number of justices who sit on the court and will be expected to outvote the conservative members of the court.  President Franklin Roosevelt (D) attempted to pack the Supreme Court with his own justices to get more favorable rulings from the court.  Both political parties opposed the President’s plan which was held up in committee, one controlled by democrats, and ultimately failed.

Republicans were wrong four years ago when they stonewalled the nomination of Judge Garland.  There was no valid reason ever given why Judge Garland’s nomination should not have been voted on by the Senate. If the Senate rejected his nomination, then so be it.  Presidents are presidents for the entire four years of their terms.  As Justice Ginsberg said four years ago presidents do not stop being president in the last year of their term.

The “Biden Rule” is ridiculous.  Presidents have the responsibility to nominate members to the Supreme Court.  President Trump’s nominee should be given an up or down vote in the Senate because that is the job of the president to nominate Supreme Court Justices and the Senate’s job to vote on confirmation of that nominee.  Talking out of two sides of one’s mouth to which position fits the moment best is no way to govern.  So, grow up boys and girls and do your job.  Senators should vote on the president’s nominee and stop playing hypocritical politics.

[1] The “Biden Rule,” named after then Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), states that in an election year the incumbent president should not make a Supreme Court nomination until the election season is over.