Sen. McConnell and Republicans Continue Politics of Obstruction

GarlandThere is an obligation that comes with being a member of the U.S. Senate, to hold hearings and vote to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court.

The unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia while unfortunate did occur with nearly a year left on President Obama’s term.

The Constitution states the president, “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the Supreme Court.”

There is nothing in there about maybe, could be, or only in non-election years. It says the president “shall nominate.”

Obama has put forth a duly qualified nominee in Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The president has lived up to his end of the deal, now the Senate, in particular Republicans Mitch McConnell (KY) and Chuck Grassley (IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, need to step up and get to work vetting this nominee.

I know it stings for the GOP. No one expected this vacancy. And if it happened in 2017 there might be a Republican occupying the White House, but it happened this year.

These are the rules of the game. Players abide by them and don’t go skulking off into the corner stamping their feet as if throwing a fit on a grade school playground.

It’s unbecoming and beneath the expectations of what our country has for members of the Senate and the institution they represent.

McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, stated moments after word broke of Justice Scalia’s passing that he refused to consider any Supreme Court nominee submitted by this president.

Not that I should expect much else from the Obstructionist in Chief. McConnell made a similar pledge on the day of Obama’s inauguration that basically, regardless of subject or substance, the Republicans should unite in saying NO to any Democratic initiative going forward in the effort to make the incoming chief executive a one-term president.

In other words, the Republicans decided it was okay to harm America so long as they could appease the radical right and maintain their cushy positions of power on Capitol Hill.

They held true to this mantra. Nothing has been put forth by the president or democrats for seven years that wasn’t contested.

In fact many items that could have helped cushion the blow for Americans that suffered from low wages, lost jobs or foreclosed homes was prevented from coming to fruition.

All Republicans have to do is look in the mirror to see how such an angry and divisive candidate as Donald Trump has been able to rise. It’s from the ashes of their own deceit and obstructionism.

McConnell failed in relegating Obama to one term, and it’s likely this same strategy of obstructing progress will again cost the GOP a chance of winning the presidency.

Judge Garland is well respected by both parties, and was confirmed by the Senate in 1997 by a vote of 76-23.

It’s going to be a tough sell to the public and to all Republican candidates running in the fall as to why the Senate has been unable to take up this nomination when they’ve had nine months to get the job done.

That pressure is going to build with each passing day. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing tickers on all the news shows that depicts the number of days since the president nominated Garland, to remind viewers as they tune in daily.

Moderate Republican senators, especially first-termers, up for re-election in swing states are going to feel the fire under their feet quick.

This will dovetail nicely with the ongoing presidential election debate. In a year where outsiders are all the rage due to the dysfunction of Congress, what does it say about the eventual Republican nominee and the party as a whole that they can’t get their act together enough to show the respect and sense of duty to meet with the president’s nominee, hold the requisite hearings and vote to fill the vacancy on the nation’s highest court?

It’s another example of the GOP’s willingness to sabotage the country in order to satisfy their divisive political ambitions.

For once, try putting the country first and stop embarrassing yourselves and insulting the electorate’s intelligence. All the obstructionism is utterly transparent for what it is – partisan politics for personal gain.

Do your job, or resign and go home so someone more qualified can serve the people.

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