In a moment of weakness I decided to watch the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Call it curiosity. Call it masochism. Call it being just plain stupid. But as I watched the human hot air balloons on the Republican side of the aisle, I couldn't help but be struck by the galloping hypocrisy Republicans demonstrated time after time. Such indignation! Those Republican senators would go on and on about how the Democrats were politicizing the process, using the hearings to earn political brownie points as if the whole Kavanaugh nomination weren't an exercise in earning political brownie points from the Republicans' political base. But I was particularly struck by the pompous blathering of Senator Lindsey Graham.
One of his statements especially stood out for me. In the midst of lecturing Democrats on the "proper" way of opposing a Supreme Court nomination, the grandiloquent blowhard from South Carolina had the temerity to lecture Democrats on the nature of a President's power to appoint justices to the Supreme Court. He said, and I quote, "If you want to appoint judges you better win elections.". Think about that for a moment, especially considering the source. Cast your memory back to February of 2016. Justice Antonin Scalia has just died of a massive heart attack, thus leaving a vacancy on the Court. President Barack Obama, who after all WON the election in 2012, attempted to fulfill his obligation as President to fill that Supreme Court vacancy by offering the name of Judge Merrick Garland as Justice Scalia's successor. No one ever called into question Judge Garland's qualifications. He was an experienced and qualified jurist with impeccable credentials. Now you may have noticed that Merrick Garland is conspicuous by his absence from the Supreme Court bench. And, of course, we all know why. Even though President Obama had the authority to make the appointment, Mitch McConnell single-handed determined that Judge Garland would not be given even the courtesy of a hearing. And the lemmings on the Republican side of the aisle simply followed orders and denied Judge Garland his rightful place on the Supreme Court. What irony! What hypocrisy!
Virtually every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee took turns blasting their Democratic counterparts for what they described as blatant partisanship. Were the Democrats suggesting that Judge Kavanaugh was not even worthy of a hearing? Not at all! No, they merely suggested that the hearings be postponed until such time as they could go over the voluminous paper work that Brett Kavanaugh produced while an employee in the George W. Bush administration. Republicans expressed shock, shock that Democrats would want to gauge Judge Kavanaugh's state of mind on critical issues of the law BEFORE he assumed his position on the Supreme Court, even though they made the same demands of Justice Elena Kagan when it was her turn to appear before the Judiciary Committee for confirmation.
I would agree with the grandiloquent Senator Graham that extreme partisanship is a horrible thing and ought to be eliminated from the consideration of candidates for a position on the Supreme Court. But until such time as the Republicans are willing to GIVE that kind of respect, they really have no gripe coming. I agree, in principle, with Senator Graham that political affiliation or judicial philosophy should not be a disqualifying factor in denying anyone a position in federal government, much less the Supreme Court. But need I remind Senator Graham that was his great good friend, the late John McCain, who said that the Republicans in the Senate should do everything in their power to keep any of Hillary Clinton's nominees from the federal bench should she have been elected President of the United States! How can THAT be described as non-partisan or even bi-partisan?
I understand that the President has the right name anyone to any position within the federal government. And I wouldn't have minded as much had Merrick Garland be afforded the same courtesies that the Democrats have thus afforded both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. But they didn't. I am a firm believer in the concept of lex talionis, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Republicans denied Merrick Garland a seat on the Supreme Court for no good reason. What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander!
Filed under: Politics