Senator McConnell, Why Do You Disrespect Justice Scalia?

Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing has led to the President doing his constitutional job of nominating a replacement and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell not doing his. McConnell refuses to even meet with the nominee, Merrick Garland, a centrist respected by both sides. Holding hearings and voting on him, the senate’s constitutional job, are out of the question. In the time-honored and almost magical way that politicians have of making their base, self-serving interests sound like high principle, McConnell very prettily says that deferring the decision until the next president is in office so that “the people have a voice” is the right thing to do. Of course, the people actually did have a voice and they elected Barack Obama to a second four-year term, not a three year term. Naturally McConnell’s pretended principled stand is really raw politics, as he hopes for a Republican to be elected president allowing the next justice to be a Republican nominee. But if a Democrat is elected, all the Republican principle of letting “the people have a voice” will dissolve, and the centrist Garland will likely get a lame duck hearing after all, just before the newly elected Democrat takes office and has the opportunity to nominate someone less satisfactory to Republican sensibilities. Would McConnell be talking about letting the people have a voice if a Republican had almost a year left in office? Of course not.

As the leading voice for the judicial philosophy of deciding cases based on the “original intent” of the Constitution, Justice Antonin Scalia would have to be appalled at McConnell’s “let the people have a voice” hypocrisy concerning the Justice’s replacement. The founders unquestionably intended “advise and consent” to mean precisely that, and doing nothing is not “advising” the President, much less “consenting.” If McConnell and company want to show respect to Justice Scalia, then abide by his oft expressed judicial philosophy and proceed with what the original intent of the Constitution’s framers clearly was: consider the nominee and have the senate give its advice in the form of an actual vote. Senator McConnell, why do you so disrespect the Justice whom you so profess to revere?

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