A Shameful Power Grab Attempt

This will be a short comment, although one that is consuming me in an angry way. It concerns the hypocrisy, and there is no other word, of Senator Mitch McConnell. The Speaker of the Senate Republican majority is very cagey, no doubt about that. He controls a Senate majority of fifty three Republicans, along with forty five Democrats and two Independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. On a major issue like this, the effective nominal split is fifty three to forty seven. With Vice President Mike Pence voting in case of a tie, the Republicans have, effectively, a four vote majority.

McConnell famously, or infamously, determined that the Senate would not take up consideration of President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court upon the death of Justice Scalia in February, 2016. His stated reason was that the decision should be left to the next president, at that time still ten months away. That was an unprecedented matter, but he enforced it and Merrill Garland, the highly respected Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was never considered by the Senate.

McConnell’s decision, apparently “precedent" based on the Garland nomination, now is thrown out his (ethical?) window. President Trump will get to make a selection for the Supreme Court, his third in four years, based on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death from cancer. There will be rushed consideration and a vote in the next forty five days before the election of November, 2020 - or possibly between the election and the inauguration. Usually the process of a Supreme Court nomination and consideration requires a half year, but McConnell now says he will throw out his previous philosophy that “the people” should decide the next President before a last-year nomination is considered. Again, no matter what your view is, the back-step on his own “philosophy” by Mr. McConnell is staggeringly shallow.

In the event Mr. Trump is reelected, there would be time for the replacement of RBG to be considered in full light of his victory. In the event of a Biden win, of course this brazen power grab would put a Justice on the Court rammed through in the worst sense of fairness. Just take a minute to consider this if the tables were reversed, and in fact they were only four years ago.

I can’t imagine this taking place; it seems to be a scene out of a Huey Long movie, or some third-world dictatorship. But here? McConnell should be ashamed of himself. Hopefully decent Republican Senators will stand up and put an end to this cheap power grab.

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J.K. (Jim) George


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26 Responses

  1. One of the shameful things about politics is that with very few exceptions those elected to high public office leave their moral compass tucked far, far away . Is McConnell worse than his predecessor, Harry Reed, or di you honestly believe that Chuck Schumer would act differently if he were the Senate Majority leader? I believe most of our elected officials in Washington should do a couple of terms and the get the #%€¥< out os DC and leave for somewhere far away. I am fond of saying they should all do two terms: one in office and one in jail. Adam Powell, Dan Rostenkowski and Duke Cunningham come quickly to mind . . .
  2. Decent Republican Senators WILL stand up and put an end to this. Let's count how many there are.
  3. Jim, your reaction is no different than mine, and that of thousands ... millions of others. But what did you expect? Politics these days is a blood sport. Any chance to win ... you take it, no matter how hypocritical. I'd like to see some of these politicians get what's coming to them on November 3rd. Let's see what the American public will do. I have very low expectations. ... PS: There are a number of Democrats that are no better, although in different ways.
  4. And here is a word from another hypocrite, Lindsey Graham, who has already reneged on his statement. And our own Sen.Cornyn sitting right next to him.... any guess on what his position will be now that he has developed into McConnell's ultimate puppet. Disgraceful! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw8SSQHQitg
  5. Jim, again, what did you expect from a few in leadership positions? Any leadership team capable of killing 200,000 people, and leading by example, does not really care about ethics. We all know that Mr T has one goal : a stock market legacy, no matter what; although, he may have a secondary goal of how many books are written about him. I mentioned to you that I just finished reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" (a fantastic historical account). I'm waiting for this year's version to come out any day, called... "The Rise and Fall of the Turd Psyche (O)" . Unfortunately, the other side has shifty players also. You would think that a country with a population of 330 M people, that we would two better candidates. Bill
  6. JK James George
    From Anon-1: I’m so glad you spoke out about this! I was just reading yesterday that Ginsburg pleaded on her death bed for this very thing not to happen. Great blog!
  7. JK James George
    From Anon-2: For a "lefty" to mention fairness is laughable!!
  8. JK James George
    From Anon-3: Jim, we love and support Trump and feel like the radical Dems are destroying our country. So...we are on the opposite side of the spectrum from you, and of course, we don't have freedom of speech like you do, so please do not send us any more of your leftist stuff.
  9. JK James George
    From Anon-4: Thanks as always for your thoughts. I do personally place some blame on RBG for not stepping down when Obama asked her to consider that. Hindsight is an unfair advantage, I have heard she did not do that because she wanted to do that when Hillary was elected...... For someone that has battled numerous forms of cancer to be 85+ and not taking a sure bet proved to be poor judgement.
  10. JK James George
    From Anon-5: Hi Jim: Having worked on the Hill for a decade, I have found the controversy over the replacement for the late Justice Ginsburg somewhat misplaced; instead it merely reflects ordinary Washington politics rather than some under-the-table development. There is no change in Constitutional processes or Senate Rules to consider a nominee to replace a deceased incumbent (https://www.rules.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CDOC-113sdoc18.pdf). There are more subtle issues of prudence and wisdom concerning the timing of scheduling a vote, but I suspect the term “power grab” overstates the issue. In 2011, the Senate Majority Leader at the time, Senator Reid unleashed what was then known as the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules to permit him to win passage of legislation and confirm judges appointed by the then-incumbent Obama administration he could not win under Senate Rules that had prevailed for a century. So he used his control of the Senate majority to change the rules. An article from The Hill, a Capitol Hill ‘trade paper’ reported on the event which is displayed below. There was an observation from an unidentified Republican Senate staffer at the time who underscored the fact the these developments are ‘just politics”. He said in frustration at the Majority Leader’s changes in the Senate Rules, “Just wait until they get into the minority!” one GOP staffer growled. When the Republicans regained control of the Senate in the 2016 election, they did just that; they changed the Senate rules regarding the number of votes needed for Senate consent to Federal judicial appointment to a simple majority). The temptation of change Senate Rules to suppress minority views may be a more profound threat than the usual day-to-day maneuvering of the legislators since the absence of a process for extended debate by cutting off the ability of the minority views to be heard. It seems likely that eliminating the filibuster entirely could be coming up when the 117th Congress convenes in January as Senator Warren has proposed (https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/05/elizabeth-warren-filibuster-2020-election-1259196).
  11. JK James George
    From Anon-6: I read your "Power Grab" blurb and don't agree with your premises. #1. Sen McConnell distinctly stated that "if a vacancy occurs on the Supreme court and the Senate is controlled by the same party as the Executive branch, then the Senate can vote on a nominee put forth by the President." #2. The time that it takes to confirm a nominee varies all over the place. Chief Justice Robert's took just 31 days and Justice RGB took just 45 days. So stating that there is not enough time to confirm a Justice before the end of the year is not correct. On another more political note. I was a devout Democrat all my life up until Obama's 2nd term. At that time I began to question my party affiliation. After years of research (more time as a retiree for 20 years) and Trump (an outsider, not Washington political insider) and businessman running for the Presidency, I realized that what was going on in Washington all these years had to be changed. The politicians kept kicking the can down the road! Today, President Trump has been able to address many of the problems that our country has been putting off for a long time and even while dealing with some hard line Republicans, he has been able to move the Republican party to a more moderate position. In fact, the reason I was a Democrat most of my life was it's more moderate tone. Today, the Republican party is like the old Democratic party and I tell people that the democratic party left me and not the other way around. I could go on and on especially about what China is doing behind the scenes. This country is real close to losing it's free enterprise system which will be the end of how we as a country have prospered for so many years. If you are interested in hearing more of my views on this subject, I will invite you and your wife out to Canyon Lake, Texas where we could share our views in a very respectful manner.
  12. JK James George
    From Anon-7: I think the media should completely ignore McConnell's current statements and instead play only his comments from 2016. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/mitch-mcconnell-antonin-scalia-supreme-court-nomination-219248
  13. JK James George
    From Anon-8: Actually, I agree. I am somewhat ambivalent about how the Garland nomination was handled. I can see good reasons to ratify prior to election and good reasons to wait. However, having said that, I think it is a poor idea to change the rules at this point.
  14. JK James George
    From Anon-9: Jim, I am so glad you wrote this article. Has McConnell no shame?
  15. JK James George
    From Anon-10: I received this while I was at the pool. I hadn’t taken my glasses with me but managed to read it in time to discuss the subject with two of my closest friends who are Just as upset at Trump and M.Mc as you are. Surely people will see this and will see the light ! If not there’s no hope for them. I do hope Romney and a few others speak up. Keep up the good work!
  16. JK James George
    From Anon-11: Jim, in an interview, Mitch McConnell shamefully laughed off his stance on delaying the review of Neal Gorsuch. That was probably a year ago. It's a "So what?..." type of thing because he's arrogantly powerful. The only way to stop his shenanigans is to flip the Senate and render him moot! Such are the ways of power...absolutely!
  17. JK James George
    From Anon-12: Hope you are doing well. We are fine and enjoying our cabin in the Smokies for a few days. During this rather volatile political season. I have made a personal commitment to not post political opinions whether correct or not. It serves no good purpose as it gathers agreement from those on my side of the political fence and fosters animosity and even hatred from others. I do respect those who embrace a different political philosophy. That’s what makes the country great.
  18. JK James George
    From Anon-13: Jim … Read the blog, and can find no fault with anything. I get that you and every democrat that I know and follow are frustrated and mad. Can’t help but be, especially given the worst possible timing for this event. But McConnell and others are beyond hypocrisy. Flip-flopping in the most obvious kind of way just doesn’t matter anymore. Moral compasses have become passé as no one cares and no one will be held responsible for much of anything. It totally about keeping what power you have and trying to get more, and yes, sadly, the end apparently justifies the means. What a completely shitty state of affairs. And yes, this will undoubtedly help some of those senate Republicans whose map pins are wobbly. Thanks for blogging. Hope it helped your spirits a bit to get some of it off your chest.
  19. JK James George
    From Anon-14: Please excuse me if this is not the most persuasive exhortation to action, but in light of the recent death of Justice Ginsberg and the apparent Republican efforts to expeditiously fill her Supreme Court vacancy, I feel compelled to some kind of response, as futile as it may seem. Given the limits on what may be useful I hope that the following may make a difference: 1. Contact not only your own state senators in the strongest of terms not to support McConnell’s egregious and double-dealing efforts. I also suggest contacting the Senators in states that will be closely contested to voice your strong opposition—-Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, perhaps Montana and any others you feel fit this category. 2. Give financial support to those same Senators who are in close races which might flip to the Democrats. 3. Contact any of the senators who you think might desert from the McConnell fold and urge them not to support his effort—-Collins, Murkowski, Grassley, Romney. 4. Email seems best as I have tried to call the Washington offices of most of these people only to find that their message boxes are not accepting new messages. 5. Continue to support the Biden-Harris ticket. I think that only an overwhelming public response is imperative and may have some influence. I welcome any and all other suggestions. Respectfully submitted with borderline anger and depression,
  20. JK James George
    From Anon-15: HI Jim, My wife and I agree that this presidential election is the most important one that we have ever voted in. The democracy here as we know it , is slowly starting to crumble from within, as one party has drunk the 'Kool Aid' lock stock and barrel. Another 4 year term of Trump ( and he has floated out he should get a third term) and I do not know where we will be. A Trump and Barr trumps a Joe McCarthy of the 50's. Our country Jim is I believe, heading into much much more dire times if Trump is reelected
  21. JK James George
    From Anon-16: Bullshit! Shameful???? Giving credit for an analytical intellect demonstrated by past efforts, it appears that intellect has either been suspended in favor of an emotional response, been selectively applied considering the 3.5 years of Leftist harassment, obstruction and fraudulent actions, or possibly ignored in favor of another false and misleading partisan position. That of course establishes a credibility comparable to Jake Tapper on CNN. In any event, Bullshit!!
  22. JK James George
    From Anon-17: From The Hill, here are some comments from some Republican senators running for re-election. I count five No votes here: Graham, Collins, Gardner, Tillis, and Murkowski, which ought to be enough. If Hagar can get her ads up, I think she could get good mileage pressuring Cornyn to vote No or suffer the consequences on election day. McSally is trailing Kelly in Arizona, so she’ll just be digging a deeper hole if she doesn’t vote No. There are 23 Republicans up for re-election, and only 12 Democrats. In addition to Graham, Collins, Gardner, and Tillis’ races, several other Republican races appear to be close (e.g., Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina.)
  23. JK James George
    From Anon-18: You must have been angry and in a hurry to get this out! I agree with you. Politicians in general are dirt bags. I won't name anyone specific.
  24. JK James George
    From Anon-19: Can't really disagree with anything here, Jim, but don't you think the Dems would have done the same thing in 2016 and now if their roles were reversed then and now? (i.e. a Repub pres instead of Obama in 2016, a Dem senate majority then and now, a current Dem pres etc?). I doubt that they would have done "the decent thing". I'm so sorry RBG didn't last out a bit longer - I was afraid this was going to happen.
  25. JK James George
    From Anon-20: It appears that this “Shameful Power Grab Attempt” has been done 19 times during our US history. This comes from “Lame-duck Nominations to the Supreme Court” by Kenneth Jost. I think your characterization is what is shameful here and it belongs in the same category as “peaceful demonstrators” who burn and loot their and others cities.
  26. JK James George
    From Anon-21: Sorry for delayed response concerning SCOTUS “power grab”. Don’t really agree as Trump still President until January 20 and he has duty to make recommendation and let Senate decide. I think the other side would do the same.

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