By Daniel Dunaief
Republican senators have abdicated their responsibility for vetting a candidate for the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump (who is a Republican, as if you didn’t know) could nominate a toothpick, a swimming pool, or a face mask and those objects, appealing though they may be, would become the ninth member of the Supreme Court, replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The process was over before it began. The president, who is so fond of calling any event that might not proceed in his favor “rigged,” has exactly what he wants: a collection of at least 50 senators willing to rubber stamp the nominee to the Supreme Court, a lifelong appointment, for myriad reasons, not the least of which is to break a possible contentious election tie if and when the waters are muddy enough in the presidential election.
You have to hand it to them; they know a power grab when they see one, and this is a spectacular opportunity to reshape the court with Trump’s third nominee.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham didn’t say that his party agreed to consider the candidate when he spoke to one of the Republicans’ favorite publicists, Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
No, he said, “We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg’s replacement before the election,” according to a report in the New York Post.
That doesn’t preclude the infinitesimally small possibility that one or more of them might actually consider the merits of any candidate Trump, who is, in case you missed it, a Republican, might nominate, but it certainly suggests that the game is over well before it began.
Yes, I’m sure many people are as confident that the Democrats will all vote “no” on the candidate as that the Republicans will vote “yeah, hooray, yippee, we won.”
But that doesn’t make the votes from either party, and, specifically, the votes by each individual senator any more legitimate.
The Republicans have so effectively lined up the members of their party that none of them will question the magnificent incredible choice of the justice-to-be-named later.
They have so much confidence that the choice will be the best possible candidate for the highest judicial appointment in the land that they have no real need to consider the merits of her candidacy.
This has become an all out sprint to fast-track their candidate directly onto that important bench, without even the token consideration for her past decisions, her views on the Constitution, or her thoughts on important legal precedents.
If Republican senators have so much faith in the president’s choice, they should forfeit their salaries, go back home and allow the president to vote for them on every issue. I suspect the president wouldn’t object to adding such responsibility to his daily routine.
I understand that we live in polarized and divided times. I get that Senators reflect and amplify the differences that are pulling this nation apart. Each of them has an opportunity, no, a responsibility, to consider the job they are supposed to do, and not the party they are expected to support.
I don’t even need a Republican to vote against the president’s candidate to give me hope that someone in that esteemed chamber gets it. I just need a Republican to ask a genuinely difficult question. The hearings will go something like this:
Democrat: You’re unqualified and here’s why.
Republican: My Democratic colleague is wrong, offensive and disgraceful (see my last column for the search for grace). You’re the best person to protect the legal interests of every American.
Candidate: Was there a question in there?