The hypocrisy of America’s best-known senators

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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The United States Senate is ready to take up the confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, who from the evidence presented is quite capable of being a Supreme Court Justice and shares the values of most Tennesseans. With a Republican Senate in control, her confirmation is nothing short of a done deal.
But, the one thing that is troubling to many Americans is not Trump’s pick of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the court vacancy left by the untimely death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier this month, but the hypocrisy of U.S. senators. Their own words convict them.
When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in 2016, Republicans in the Senate refused to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court nine months before the election. Here, in their own words, are the rationales they gave for this decision:
“If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said, let’s let the next president, whoever that might be, make that nomination. And you can use my words against me.” Lindsey Graham said that in March 2016.
In March 2016, Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, said: “The American people deserve to be heard on this matter. That is the fairest and most reasonable approach today. Voters have already begun to choose the next president who in turn will nominate the next Supreme Court Justice. “
At that same time, Sen. Ted Cruz said: “There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”
Sen. Marco Rubio at that same time said: “I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term. I would say that if it were a Republican president.”
One can find several other examples from senators echoing the same reasoning back in 2016.
Webster’s dictionary defines hypocrisy as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” Based on what these same senators’ words and actions have been toward confirming a nominee for the Supreme Court when in the last few weeks prior to the election, the dictionary should have a picture of a Republican senator next to the definition of hypocrite.
No wonder, the American electorate doesn’t have much confidence in its elected representatives and the president when they outrightly lie, and think nothing about it.
This is no reflection on the court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who is respected even by lawyers who disagree with her. Barrett’s record leads conservatives to hope — and liberals to fear — that she at 48 years old would cement a conservative majority on the courts for decades to come on issues ranging from affirmative action to gun control to immigration.
We don’t question Barrett’s qualifications and fitness for the Court. What we do question is the hypocrisy of American lawmakers and their disregard for the truth, and we, the people, who elect them give little thought to it. We give them a pass on their actions. It’s never okay to lie.

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