A Monday Night In Durham And DC

Fair warning: If you read just a bit between the lines of the opening and closing paragraphs this article violates my PG rating pledge.

Monday evening I underwent an anally invasive medical procedure at a Durham, North Carolina hospital. Monday evening the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Using poetic license I contend that there wasn’t much difference. Let’s explore.

On February 13, 2016 Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died. Within hours Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the seat would remain vacant until after the 2016 election. With the cooperation of his caucus it did.

On October 26, 2020 I, along with thousands of other Americans, had already cast my 2020 vote and Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. In just over an hour of the announcement of her death McConnell vowed that President Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor. With the cooperation of his caucus, most notably including Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, Trump’s nominee was confirmed on the evening of November 26, 2020 by a vote of 52-48. That was less than 10 days before an election where Trump is the underdog and the Republicans are in serious jeopardy of losing their Senate majority.

In 2016, with neither party having yet selected a nominee McConnell and his minions declared it was too close to the election to fill the vacant Court seat in February of that year. In October of 2020 McConnell and his minion hypocritically declared it was imperative that the vacant Court seat be filled prior to Election Day. To do so they violated the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee which they controlled and chaired. Then they utilized a rare Sunday Senate session. The travesty culminated with a Monday night confirmation vote.

As late as mid-October of 2020 Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski was on record saying she would not vote to confirm a 2020 Court nominee prior to the election. Monday night Murkowski voted to confirm. I guess we know what her word is worth. The only Republican to break ranks (I’m sure McConnell gave her a pass) was Maine’s Susan Collins who appears to be headed to defeat in her reelection bid next week. If you think her move was bold and independent let me remind you that she was the key vote to getting Brett Kavanaugh confirmed. If you live in Maine and haven’t already done so, vote for Sara Gideon for the United States Senate.

Republican rhetoric (read: lies) aside I can see four reasons for the expedited confirmation. First, the Republicans are close to certain that they are losing their Senate majority. Second, Trump knows he is in grave danger of losing the election if it is free and fair therefore he needs what he feels are loyal justices in place to rule on any election/voting cases. Third, if Trump and/or the Republicans lose in November filling the seat in the lame duck would be even more unpopular. Fourth, as time goes on more information emerges (much of which she hid during the confirmation process) of just how extreme Barrett’s views and history are. She is not even within the mainstream of American conservative thought.

If you think this was neither a rush job nor all about Trump let me describe a single picture. Within less than an hour of the Senate’s vote Barrett was sworn in at the White House (a/k/a Trump’s new political sound stage). From left to right the picture was Barrett, her husband holding the Bible, Trump and Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas administering the oath. In the video version of the picture Trump is seen moving his head between Barrett and Thomas like a director making sure the actors get their lines correct. I can think of several figures in history I could have mentally substituted for Trump. None of the substitutions were complimentary or American.

Monday night in both Durham and DC resulted in pictures. I have yet to see the Durham ones but I’m willing to bet that neither is pretty.

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