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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mitch McConnell and neutral principles

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Chamber of Commerce luncheon that the Senate would fill a Supreme Court vacancy that should arise in 2020, contra his arguments in 2016 that the Senate should not fill Justice Scalia's seat in an election year but should let the people decide who should fill the vacancy. Asked to explain the seeming inconsistency, McConnell spokesman David Popp said the difference is that in 2016, the President was a Democrat and the Senate was controlled by Republicans, while now the Republicans control both.

Obviously that is nowhere close to what McConnell argued three years ago. But what would McConnell say about the converse of 2016--would not filling the seat be similarly proper when the President was a Republican and the Senate controlled by Democrats? That is, was Popp's point about split partisan control (a nonsense argument, but at least neutral) or was it specifically Democratic President and Republican Senate that made it ok, while the converse would not be?

I would have expected a different disingenuous argument, one that would sound slightly more neutral: The difference is that in 2020 the incumbent is seeking reelection and so is in the prime of his executive power, whereas the Democrat presented to the voters was not the current President. Again, a stupid argument. But it at least pretends to rest on some principle besides "now my party has the White House."

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 28, 2019 at 10:56 PM in Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


And, BTW - Schumer spoke on behalf of himself. McConnell's opinion on the matter resulted in the Senate not considering a nomination. Big difference - but I wouldnt expect the typical sycophants to debate the merits in good faith.

Posted by: Anon | May 29, 2019 6:11:30 PM

Comparing Schumer's unrequiyed hypothetical to McConnell's actual execution is a bit disingenuous. I'll even stipulate that Schumer was out-of-bounds in his proposal. We do not know if he would have followed through on the threat. We do know that McConnell wasted no time jumping on that horse when presented the opportunity.

The "reek of hypocrisy" is what surrounds McConnell over this and most of his uber-partisan acts.

Posted by: Herveus | May 29, 2019 2:27:27 PM

Majority leader Chuck Schumer gave a speech in July 2007 to a cheering crowd at the ACS where he said that no Supreme Court nominee by President Bush would be brought up for a vote in his last 18 months in office. For left wing law professors to complain that it was wrong for majority leader McConnell to refuse to bring a nominee forward during President Obama's last nine months in office reeks of hypocrisy.

Posted by: PaulB | May 29, 2019 1:09:41 PM

"Frankly, Kentucky deserves better."

Instead, I believe we all deserve better. McConnell represents the zenith of cynical, hyperpartisan, hypocritcal rule by a party out of ideas. The sooner he is retired by the voters of Kentucky the better.

Posted by: Anon | May 29, 2019 9:46:50 AM

Once again, the senior Senator from Kentucky demonstrates that his sole concern is power, specifically his power.
I pray that his constituents remember his amoral behavior in November 2020. Frankly, Kentucky deserves better.

Posted by: Howard | May 29, 2019 12:49:22 AM

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