Never-Ending Hypocrisy in the Senate

For the eight years that George W. Bush (R) was president, Republicans complained bitterly about their Democratic counterparts in the Senate using the archaic rules like the filibuster to prevent votes on judicial nominations. The Republicans in the majority said that it was inappropriate for the Democratic minority to stop the Senate from doing its job, and threatened to invoke the ‘nuclear option’ that would eliminate the filibuster when it came to judicial nominees. The Democrats strongly defended the filibuster, claiming that it was an important check on the majority.

Then Barack Obama (D) became president. And the Democrats began to complain bitterly about their Republican counterparts in the Senate using the filibuster against judicial nominees. Now the Democrats claimed that it was inappropriate for the Republican minority to stop the Senate from doing its job. Now it was the Democrats threatening to invoke the ‘nuclear option’, and now it was Republicans strongly defending the filibuster as an important check on the majority.

So much for sticking to principle.

More than a year ago, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Republicans in the Senate refused to act on that nomination. Democrats demanded that the nomination be considered promptly. And now, President Donald Trump (R) has nominated Neil Gorsuch to that same Supreme Court seat . . . and the Republicans who just spent a year dragging their feet on a nomination suddenly think it needs to be acted upon immediately, and the Democrats who just spent a year demanding that the Senate act promptly on nominations suddenly want to prevent the Senate from acting on one.

Look, there’s room for debate about the filibuster and about whether inaction constitutes the ‘advice and consent’ that the U.S. Constitution tells the Senate to provide on presidential nominations. My humble opinion is that the Senate must act on a nomination—either confirming or rejecting it—within a reasonable amount of time, which is why I wanted Garland’s nomination to be put to a vote last year (though I wanted the Senate to vote against). My opinion on this doesn’t change based on who is in power. Either it’s okay to delay a court nomination indefinitely, or it isn’t.

Shame on the Democratic hypocrites who objected to those delays last year and perpetrate them today. And shame on the Republican hypocrites who perpetrated those delays last year and oppose them today. Why don’t you all grow up and get some principles?

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.