The Hill posted a story online with the headline “McConnell’s shining moment.”
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is shining because the body he runs has confirmed Neil Gorsuch to a spot on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pardon my anger, but the leader isn’t shining. He stands as a scoundrel, a thief who stole the seat from another judge who should have been confirmed in 2016.
McConnell is boasting that the most “consequential” decision he has made was his decision to block Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The consequence would be to block a vote on the Senate floor.
Hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, McConnell made clear his intention to prevent President Obama from filling the spot on the court. Some have praised McConnell for blocking the president. I choose to condemn him.
Politics takes over
Gorsuch’s confirmation today was totally expected. The Senate voted 55-44 to approve his confirmation. He earned his court seat on the basis of a rule change that McConnell orchestrated in which the Senate abandoned its 60-vote rule to end a filibuster. I get that the majority leader was within his rights to change the rule.
What happened in 2016, though, is the much more egregious transgression. McConnell played raw politics with Obama’s nominee. The U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to fill federal judgeships. Barack Obama fulfilled his duty. The Senate also has the right to reject a nominee.
The Senate, though, should have heard from Garland. It should have weighed this man’s credentials. It should have considered his qualifications. It should have received a recommendation from the Judiciary Committee.
And it should have cast an up-down vote on whether to confirm the president’s nominee.
Thanks to the majority leader’s obstruction, none of that was allowed to occur.
And to think that Mitch McConnell has the stones to accuse Democrats of playing politics with Supreme Court picks. This man, McConnell, has set the standard for politicizing the highest court in America.
Gorsuch’s confirmation isn’t a “shining moment.” It is permanently soiled by political poison.