Wednesday, February 17, 2016

John McCain Joins the GOP SCOTUS Hypocrite Choir

In 1988--an election year--the U.S. Senate, with the Democrats holding the majority, voted to confirm Anthony Kennedy, Ronald Reagan's nominee to the Supreme Court.  Coincidental to the current situation, that confirmation came in February--just 11 months before the end of Mr. Reagan's time in office.  Senator John McCain was among the Senators voting in favor of Mr. Kennedy's appointment.

Former President Bill Clinton appointed two Supreme Court justices during his time in office: Ruth Bader-Ginsburg (in 1993) and Stephen Breyer (in 1994).  

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), said he "voted for both Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg, because I believed that President Clinton won the election...(and) elections have consequences." 

In 2005, then President George W. Bush nominated Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito to fill Supreme Court vacancies.  In July of that year, Mr. McCain sat with MSNBC's Chris Matthews to discuss Senate Democrat's displeasure with the two conservative choices, telling Mr. Matthews that if Democrats want to be able to choose Supreme Court nominees, they should "win the next presidential election (since) that's the way the system works."

In defense of W's choices, he added, "The American voter was very well aware of what kind of judge the President of the United States was going to appoint and they decided to re-elect him.  Maybe that wasn't the reason, but they knew that came with the deal."

Indeed, John McCain has so prided himself in his dedication to fairness and living with the consequences of election results that his website contains this boast:

"Arizona has a rich and storied legal history.  For Senator McCain, one of the best ways to honor that legacy is to work with whomever is the President and other Senators to fill vacancies with the most qualified people who are willing to serve their country as judges."

In February 2016 under President Barack Obama, however, he thinks things should be done differently.  In defense of his hypocritical about-face, his office issued a statement blaming the Democrats' use of the "nuclear option" for the current lack of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and for his own change of heart on the issue of judicial confirmations.

 what eye thynk:  As Steve Benen wrote for MSNBC, this is "gibberish."

Senate Democrats invoked the nuclear option only after "...the Senate Republican minority imposed a blockade in 2013 on any President Obama nominee for the D.C. Circuit, regardless of merit, filibustering literally every jurist considered for the appellate bench.  Republicans said at the time that the partisan blockade would continue indefinitely, even on judges who enjoyed majority support in the Senate."

The nuclear option was a case of the GOP reaping what they had sown, and now Senator McCain wants to use the harvest as an excuse to spread even more rotten seed.

Much has been made of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)'s calling for the same type of blockade against SCOTUS appointments under then President George W. Bush in 2007.   

Mr. Schumer was wrong then and the Republicans are wrong today.  I'd like to hang a banner across the front of the U.S. Senate that reads "Listen to your mother. Two wrongs don't make a right." 

The President was elected to do a job.  The American people who elected him expect him to continue doing that job until a new President is sworn in on January 20, 2017.

So Senators, Democrat and Republican alike, pull up your big-boy pants and skirts and get on with doing yours.

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