How we got to where we’re at with the federal judiciary
I saw this:
Moscow Mitch McConnell didn’t just casually toss the Constitution into the trash on Sean Hannity’s show Thursday when he promised Donald Trump would be in control of his own impeachment hearing. He gloated over his wanton destruction of federal judiciary, laughing at Hannity for saying that he was shocked President Obama left judicial vacancies.
“I’ll tell you why,” he answered. “I was in charge of what we did the last two years of the Obama administration.” Then he laughed.
He laughed over the fact that he single-handedly refused to let the Senate advise and consent on President Obama’s judicial nominees. He’s laughing over the fact that he left all those vacancies open for Donald Trump. For Trump. Including a Supreme Court seat.
A quick history lesson. In November, 2013, the Senate ended the 60-vote threshold for approval of judicial picks. They had to do that because Republicans had taken to blocking just about everyone. Had they done it years prior, as they should have, they could have filled a lot more empty judicial seats while they could. Moreover, they did not subsequently make filling those seats a Code Red #1 priority as they also should have.
Then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) continued to allow Republicans to use the hoary Senate tradition of “blue slips” to block nominees. He apparently took for granted, or accepted fulsome assurances, that Republicans would reciprocate if/when things changed. The practices of the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” and all that. (Believe it or not, some pompous old fools continue to intone what’s inside the quote marks, there, in all seriousness.)
As I see it, there are two basic choices, to explain the foregoing. Or maybe it’s some combination of these two.
1. Sen. Leahy, then-President Obama, and plenty of others really were so astonishingly naïve and gullible as to believe that the modern-day GOP would refrain from doing whatever it took to pack the federal judiciary with dangerously extremist kooks, the moment they got the chance.
2. At least some of those same people don’t necessarily object to a right-wing judiciary, lest certain politicians take a measure of power and try to, in their view, “completely tear down the system and remake it.”
You can make up your own mind, if you like, on all of that.
One alternative that I see is to elect a president with the integrity and guts to basically treat everything Traitor Trump has done, including his judicial picks, as essentially null and void. When things have gone very, very wrong, thoughtful, humane people have the right – some would say an imperative – to do what it takes to fix them. You can make up your own mind on that, too.
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