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Mitch McConnell Kentucky

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, speaks at the Paducah Chamber luncheon at Walker Hall May 28, 2019, in Paducah, Kentucky.

When principle is subordinated to partisanship, we are building a different America.

One could call this Exhibit A in illustrating just how far the federal government has fallen into the rabid partisan trap.

Or, if one prefers, it could be called a glaring example of the hypocrisy of the political class.

But perhaps it may best be characterized for showing how unbridled partisanship leads to disrespect for the U.S. Constitution.

Let’s explain.

On May 28, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce in Paducah, Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked this question: “Should a Supreme Court justice die next year, what will your position be on filling the spot?”

McConnell responded, with a smile: “Oh, we’d fill it.”

Books have been written about modern Americans’ painfully short attention span and memory, so a refresher course is in order.

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief appellate court judge in Washington, to succeed him. McConnell immediately said the Senate would not confirm Garland, or even hold hearings, because Obama was in his last year of office and no nomination should be considered during an election year.

The Senate, he said, had to wait so voters could make their decision. McConnell refused to budge and Garland’s nomination languished for 293 days until President Donald Trump was inaugurated and picked a new nominee.

Four years later, why is there a different answer? A McConnell spokesperson explained that, “This time, both (White House and Senate) are controlled by the GOP.”

Here’s what the Constitution says: “He (the President) shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate … (to) appoint … Judges of the Supreme Court …”

It does not say anything about limiting a president’s appointment power because an election is approaching.

And it certainly doesn’t say anything about appointment power being dependent upon which party controls the White House and/or Senate.

This is a total, hypocritical power play invented in the fertile partisan mind of Mitch McConnell. Citizens should know it for what it is — a cynical abuse of the Constitution’s clear language.

Excessive partisanship — and both sides have been guilty — is splitting this country into angry, mean-spirited, hateful factions. The result will be a weaker America, increasingly vulnerable to its enemies foreign and domestic.

When constitutional principle no longer prevails, replaced by the raw exercise of partisan power, future generations surely stand to inherit a very different country.

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