Although Mitch McConnell was entitled to vote no on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, his refusal to be involved with the constitutional process shows contempt for the constitutional democracy. His defense of no standards or time frame being defined by the Constitution regarding advice and consent is considered a smokescreen. Frank Garrison explores all angles in a recent Tennessean opinion piece.
The drafters of the Constitution most likely did not envision an unwillingness of the Senate to participate, or this policy becoming standard when one party is controlling the Senate and another the executive branch. The question is if McConnell really believes not participating regarding a nomination will further our democracy’s interests. There must be a reason McConnell chose to obstruct the process when a majority vote of no would effectively block the confirmation. Apparently, he decided engaging in public defiance is politically better than simply voting no on the nomination for Garland.
The justification attempt by McConnell is not disguised well. The Senators and President have already been elected by the people according to the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide the length of term served by the President, or determine the role of the Senate in the process for advice and consent. McConnell’s Constitutional rights are not being questioned, but he is being criticized for placing partisan politics over Constitutional interests. This may result in disastrous and long-term consequences.
The rule by law is one of this country’s greatest strengths, despite the occasional disagreements regarding the enforcement and formulation. People will not always approve of the judicial decisions made or the laws passed. This does not change the fact America has historically given the rule of law respect, and any changes were approached peacefully through legislation and the courts. A stable society has been created partially due to this respect, and people across the globe envy the society achieved.
As a leader in the Senate majority, McConnell is in a powerful position. He has the freedom to choose what he will recognize in the Constitution. This message is dangerous, irresponsible, and offers encouragement for anyone interested in acting above and beyond the law. McConnell’s message is reckless, and may result in a long-term, irreparably harmful impact. His words and actions are providing ammunition for those wanting to resist the government authority and the law. This threatens our democracy and the rule of law. The actions of McConnell are more than simply a political ploy, they are an assault to the belief in our constitutional democracy by every American.