If We Really Did Now What McConnell Said, Garland Would Get on Top Court

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hey, Elizabeth Warren! Hey, Ed Markey!   Listen up.  Please.

I have an idea for a speech for you to give in the U. S. Senate.  If you decide it’s not worth an entire speech, use it as a talking point in a constituent newsletter or a pitch to campaign donors. The subject: President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court and the refusal by the Republicans who control the Senate to hold hearings, and vote, on that nomination.
An opening on the court was created by the death of Antonin Scalia, who passed away in his sleep on the night of Feb. 12 or the morning of Feb. 13 at a ranch in Texas.  About an hour after the death was announced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement asserting that the Senate should not confirm a replacement until after the 2016 election for president. 

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” McConnell said.
On March 16, President Obama nominated Garland, chief judge of the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace Scalia.  McConnell immediately came onto the Senate floor “to declare an end to Judge Garland’s nomination, no matter his qualifications,” as the New York Times put it.

Said Kentucky’s gift to the world’s greatest deliberative body: “The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration.  The next president may also nominate someone very different.  Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”
Warren and/or Markey, the senior and junior senators from Massachusetts, respectively, should stand up the next time the Senate’s in session and make this argument:

The Majority Leader has repeatedly and resolutely declared that the American people should have the determinative say in the choice of the next Supreme Court justice through their votes in the 2016 presidential election.  The Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, received far more votes in that election than the Republican, Donald Trump.  The last votes are still being counted.  As the count goes on, Mrs. Clinton’s lead keeps getting larger. That lead now stands in the vicinity of 1.3 million votes.  Therefore, we are appealing to the better nature of our esteemed Majority Leader. Mr. Leader, please to do the honorable thing!  Please acknowledge and respect the majority of Americans voters who chose the Democrat in this presidential election. The prevailing vote for the Democratic candidate has, by the logic of your own position, imposed an obligation upon us to place on the Supreme Court the nominee of our sitting Democratic president.  The American people have spoken, Mr. Leader!  They endorsed the Democrat over the Republican by a clear margin.  They wish to have Judge Garland on the highest court in the land.  It is our duty to honor that wish.
McConnell will not budge, of course.  The Garland nomination is even deader today than it was before the election, if that is possible.  The unfortunate justice will never be a member of the Supremes. 

At least Warren and Markey can have a little fun at McConnell’s expense, though.  Fun of this painful variety is a specialty of the Majority Leader. 
Warren and McCarthy can put him on the spot and make a splash for a day in the media.  They might even succeed in cheering up, for a few moments anyway, their disconsolate fellow Democrats.

While I’m being free with my (ever unsolicited) advice, I’ll offer this to anyone now hoping, understandably,  for the demise of the Electoral College, which has produced in modern times two presidents (W. Bush & Trump) who lost the popular vote: Stop wasting your time and energy arguing for an historic change in how we elect our presidents. 
The popular vote will never be used to elect a President of the United States for the simple reason that the Electoral College, by the intention and design of our founding fathers, gives disproportionate influence to states with smaller populations.  The College can be eliminated only by amending the U.S. Constitution, which requires ratifying votes by three-fourths of all state legislatures.  Smaller-population states will never vote to diminish their outsized power.  There are enough such states to block forever an amendment abolishing the College.  Case closed.

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