Mitch McConnell once wrote that the President is elected by the people to “carry out a program and altering the ideological directions of the court would seem to be a perfectly legitimate part of a presidential platform.”
Oh dear. That was when the President was a Republican.
After the Senate had rejected two of Republican President Richard Nixon’s Supreme Court nominations, now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote that politics should play no part in the Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court nomination, according to Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal.
The President should alter the direction of the court because the people elected him to do just that, argued McConnell in a law journal article from 1970-71, the Courier-Journal reported. More:
“The president is presumably elected by the people to carry out a program and altering the ideological directions of the court would seem to be a perfectly legitimate part of a presidential platform,” wrote McConnell, the chief legislative aide to Sen. Marlow Cook.
“To that end, the Constitution gives to him the power to nominate.”
Oops. McConnell’s office tried to explain that it’s the lame duckness that renders the president stripped of the powers given to him by the people who elected him. Historians and fact-based, reality-oriented people do not agree with McConnell’s fictional version of How Things Work and so far no one has been able to locate the Republican version of the Constitution wherein the powers of the presidency are stripped for the entire fourth year of the term.
The last time a Supreme Court nominee was denied a hearing, as McConnell vowed to do to an Obama nominee within hours of Justice Scalia’s death, was 1875. So nope, not the norm.
Later, in the same article:
He (McConnell) also quoted Cook, who died earlier this month, saying the “ideology of the nominee is the responsibility of the president. The Senate’s judgment should be made, therefore, solely upon the grounds of qualifications.”
Oh, so the President should definitely influence the direction of the court ideologically because that is what he was elected to do. Obama won by five million votes, so it was pretty decisive, as pointed out by a fed-up Senator Elizabeth Warren. All of those millions of voters want President Obama to nominate the person he thinks best for the Supreme Court.
But now, in the face of rampant Republican obstructionism, many pundits are saying that President Obama should nominate someone, but he should be careful not to nominate a liberal firebrand. So President Obama should not do what he was elected to do and he should water down his ideology because Republicans threw yet another tempter tantrum. (It’s a good thing these pundits don’t raise their kids like this– give the violators all of the goodies for a reward!)
The problem with McConnell being on record vowing to obstruct President Obama at all costs no matter what is that Republicans have often, inevitably, found themselves disagreeing with their own previous statements.
Mitch McConnell was all for the President having the power to alter the ideological makeup of the court – until the President was President Obama.
This won’t stop TV pundits from calling this a “partisan” fight, when in fact it is a Republican war being waged on Democracy and the Constitution, but it’s solid proof of the war.
McConnell was all for it when it was Nixon, but now he is all against it. Talk about being on the wrong side of history.