This was a nightmare scenario for the Democratic Party – stalwart liberal and iconic justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing away before the November 3 presidential election. Let the political sport season begin (like it hasn’t already).
One the one side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirming that he will indeed bring Trump’s nominee to a vote, regardless of election politics.
On the other side, Biden and the Democratic leaders insisting that the winner of the presidential election should chose the next justice. There are even some not-so-veiled threats to “pack the court” with additional justices if the Dems win and the GOP moves forward to confirm Trump’s nomination.
Who’s right? I think it’s easy to tell. The rightness of the situation, in my view, is using the shoe-on-the-other-foot-doctrine. Let’s break it down.
Many claim McConnell is a hypocrite for not allowing a vote on Obama’s nomination to replace Scalia in 2016 when Obama was a lame-duck president. But he clearly isn’t being a hypocrite. He is acting in 2020 the same as 2016 – in the best interest of GOP and conservative politics. In 2016, he was hoping for a Republican win so the new president could appoint the justice. In 2020, a Republican is president, so he naturally wants to move forward quickly in case Biden wins in November.
It is not the slightest bit hypocritical because if the shoe was on the other foot, the Democrats would be doing the same thing. How do I know? Look at Obama and Clinton’s tweets from 2016. Both of them told McConnell that the Senate MUST do its job and vote on Obama’s nominee. They are now saying the opposite in 2020. There’s a clip of Biden going around showing him saying that there has never been an election-year nominee that didn’t receive a vote. Now he’s saying the next president should decide.
So we can all see what is going on here right? The Supreme Court picks have such importance in our polarized society that either party will use whatever advantage it has to further their views. There is nothing that states that a Senate majority can’t delay a nomination if they so chose. (like 2016) There is nothing that says that a Senate majority can’t vote on a nominee in a presidential election year. (like 2020)
In this uber-politicized environment, there is no benefit for either party NOT taking advantage of the easy gains in front of them. The Republicans see a way to shift the balance of the court to a 6-3 majority, but in essence, since Chief Justice Roberts has been a huge disappointment to the conservative cause (Obamacare, etc…), they might feel that it at least gives conservatives a 5-4 edge. They have nothing to lose and much to gain by moving forward. But not moving forward, they will not have earned one smidgen of goodwill from the other side. They only will have lost their advantage.
It is crystal clear that either party, who would have control at this time, would press their advantage for maximum gain, regardless of the Nov 3 election.
This is not hypocrisy. It’s politics. Enjoy watching the craziness unfold over the next two months.