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McConnell's handling of SCOTUS nominees damages the Supreme Court, Rosenstein meeting with Trump delayed until next week, and just 40 days until the midterms.
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SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
A NOTE FROM FRED

The enormous damage that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done to the integrity and credibility of the Supreme Court can be seen in his handling of two of the recent nominations to the Court.
 
When Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell rigged the confirmation process. He immediately said he would not schedule any consideration of a replacement Justice until after the presidential election. McConnell invented an unprecedented rationale for a 10-month or more delay: the American people, through the election results, should have a say in the next Supreme Court Justice.

McConnell did not even give the courtesy of a hearing to President Obama’s nominee, D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a Judge highly regarded by his peers and by Democrats and Republicans.

Fast forward to June 2018.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, President Trump nominates D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to his seat.

The nomination explodes with charges of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh. Other assault-related charges surface against him.

Once again, McConnell rigs and manipulates the confirmation process, this time in the opposite direction. His hypocrisy reaches new heights as he moves to ram the Kavanaugh confirmation through the Senate without any fair or due process.

A one-day hearing is held with only Doctor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh allowed to testify. Most observers find Ford’s testimony compelling.

Kavanaugh goes partisan, attacking Senate Democrats. His angry response harkens to the “high-tech lynching” card used by Justice Clarence Thomas in his 1991 confirmation hearings to fend off charges by Anita Hill.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has become President Trump’s errand boy, turns the hearing into a no-holds-barred partisan attack.

McConnell violates all rules of fair play.

He ensures that no other witnesses are allowed to testify and refuses to allow the FBI background check on Kavanaugh to be reopened, ignoring many calls for reopening the investigation, including one by the American Bar Association that had previously found Kavanaugh “well qualified.”

McConnell moves to jam the nomination through the Committee which reported it this afternoon by a partisan vote of 11 to 10.

However, in a setback for McConnell's rush to judgement, at least temporarily, Committee member Jeff Flake (R-AZ) votes to report the nomination only if the full Senate vote is delayed by up to one week to allow for an FBI investigation. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) join Flake in insisting on a further FBI investigation.

We do not know how this will turn out.

But, what we do know is that Senate Majority Leader McConnell has done enormous damage to the Supreme Court as an institution and to the Senate he is supposed to lead.

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“The serious dangers for the country and the rule of law that lie ahead if Rosenstein leaves his position already can be seen in the call by President Trump’s lawyer to ‘pause’ the [Russia] investigation if Rosenstein is gone.”
 
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By: Fred Wertheimer, Diane Alexander, and Jackie Howell. Follow Fred and Democracy 21 on Twitter @FredWertheimer.
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