PIERS MORGAN: Squabble over replacing RBG has exposed BOTH sides as charlatans

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‘Fight for the things that you care about,’ said the late, great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ‘but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’

I thought of this quote as I observed the shockingly unedifying reaction to her death, which has swiftly become the most outrageously hypocritical hyper-partisan unprincipled sh*tshow in modern US political history – and the bar for that accolade was exceptionally high.

The stakes are incredibly high.

If President Trump can force through Ginsburg’s replacement before the November election, it will be the third Supreme Court appointee he’ll have successfully got approved in his first term – an unprecedented triple whammy for the Republicans in such a short space of time.

That would skew the Supreme Court heavily 6-3 conservative majority, which is why Democrats are so determined not to let it happen.

‘Fight for the things that you care about,’ said the late, great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ‘but do it in a way that will lead others to join you’

If President Trump can force through Ginsburg’s replacement before the November election, it will be the third Supreme Court appointee he’ll have successfully got approved in his first term

Of course, we’ve been on this exact same rodeo before, just four years ago in fact.

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated a judge named Merrick Garland to replace him.

He was seen by impartial observers as a very sound choice; a brilliantly clever man noted for his moderate and neutral judgement and someone who avoided unnecessary, sweeping pronouncements. His opinions rarely drew dissent.

But the Republican-majority Senate refused to hold a hearing or vote on the nomination because it was election year and Republicans insisted whoever won the election should get to choose the nominee.

It was an unprecedented refusal and Democrats were understandably enraged, stating correctly that it was the constitutional duty of any President to nominate a Supreme Court Justice regardless of when a vacancy occurred.

The Republicans held firm amid hugely rancorous debate, and they won.

After 293 days, Merrick Garland’s nomination expired on January 3, 2017, and new President Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court instead.

Now, the situation is reversed.

Following Justice Ginsburg’s death, Republicans are demanding the right to nominate her replacement before the election – so, they are demanding the very right they refused Democrats in 2016.

Antonin Scalia

Merrick Garland

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (left) died in February 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated a judge named Merrick Garland (right) to replace him

The Republican-majority Senate refused to hold a hearing or vote on the nomination because it was election year and Republicans insisted whoever won the election should get to choose the nominee. After 293 days, Merrick Garland’s nomination expired on January 3, 2017, and new President Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch (pictured) was appointed to the Supreme Court instead

The Republican-majority Senate refused to hold a hearing or vote on the nomination because it was election year and Republicans insisted whoever won the election should get to choose the nominee. After 293 days, Merrick Garland’s nomination expired on January 3, 2017, and new President Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch (pictured) was appointed to the Supreme Court instead

Conversely, the Democrats are demanding whoever wins the 2020 election should have the right to nominate the replacement – so, they are demanding the very right they argued Republicans should not have in 2016.

The brazen hypocrisy on both sides is almost beyond parody.

And frankly, it makes me vomit.

Chief Hypocrite is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who led the block on Merrick Garland in 2016 by saying: ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’

On Friday, McConnell announced: ‘Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.’

He was only rivaled in shamelessness by Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the GOP’s grandees.

In March 2016, Graham was absolutely emphatic that Scalia’s replacement should be decided by whoever won that year’s election.

‘I want you to use my words against me,’ he said. ‘If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, “Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination”.’

He couldn’t have been clearer, right?

Yet on Saturday, before even 24 hours had elapsed since Justice Ginsburg died, the same Lindsey Graham tweeted: ‘I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.’

Other Republicans have been just as two-faced.

Senator Tom Cotton, opposing the nomination of Merrick Garland, said on the Senate floor in 2016: ‘Why would we squelch the voice of the people? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the makeup of the Supreme Court?’

Chief Hypocrite is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) who led the block on Merrick Garland in 2016 by saying: ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’ On Friday, McConnell announced: ‘Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate’

Chief Hypocrite is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) who led the block on Merrick Garland in 2016 by saying: ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’ On Friday, McConnell announced: ‘Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate’ 

He was only rivaled in shamelessness by Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the GOP’s grandees. In March 2016, Graham was absolutely emphatic that Scalia’s replacement should be decided by whoever won that year’s election. Yet on Saturday, before even 24 hours had elapsed since Justice Ginsburg died, the same Lindsey Graham tweeted: ‘I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg’

He was only rivaled in shamelessness by Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the GOP’s grandees. In March 2016, Graham was absolutely emphatic that Scalia’s replacement should be decided by whoever won that year’s election. Yet on Saturday, before even 24 hours had elapsed since Justice Ginsburg died, the same Lindsey Graham tweeted: ‘I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg’

The same Senator Cotton told Fox News yesterday: ‘We are going to move forward without delay, and there will be a vote on this nominee.’

Of course, this is all utterly repellent, reflecting a cavernous hole inside the soul of most Republican politicians these days that is encouraged from the top by Trump who as a presidential candidate said there should be ‘delay, delay, delay’ over Garland, but who as President now says ‘no delay!’ over his own nominated choice.

However, the Democrats are just as nauseating.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer stated in 2007, 15 months before the 2008 election, that Senate Democrats then holding the majority would oppose filling that President George Bush’s lame-duck Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee, if a vacancy were to occur.

Then, in 2016, he said the complete opposite about Merrick Garland.

And now he’s back to his 2007 position and insisting the American people should ‘have their say’ on who replaces Justice Ginsburg.

For bare-faced cheek, Schumer is right up there with any Republican in this farce.

Not least because it was the Democrats in 2013, led by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, who abolished the filibuster for nominations, which directly led to the current situation in which Senate Republicans need only a basic majority to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s successor.

As today’s Washington Post said: ‘Cries of fear over a rapidly spreading fire don’t count for much when it’s the arsonists doing the screaming.’

But that hasn’t stopped the Democrats threatening to incinerate the current Supreme Court if they win back power – and expand it from nine Justices to 15 so they can pack it with liberals.

This ludicrous act of petulance would simply provoke the Republicans into increasing it even further when they regained power, and so the merry-go-round of self-interested partisan bullsh*t would continue.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer stated in 2007, 15 months before the 2008 election, that Senate Democrats then holding the majority would oppose filling that President George Bush’s lame-duck Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee, if a vacancy were to occur. Then, in 2016, he said the complete opposite about Merrick Garland. And now he’s back to his 2007 position and insisting the American people should ‘have their say’ on who replaces Justice Ginsburg

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer stated in 2007, 15 months before the 2008 election, that Senate Democrats then holding the majority would oppose filling that President George Bush’s lame-duck Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee, if a vacancy were to occur. Then, in 2016, he said the complete opposite about Merrick Garland. And now he’s back to his 2007 position and insisting the American people should ‘have their say’ on who replaces Justice Ginsburg

The reaction from liberals to Justice Ginsburg’s death, and the Republican move to swiftly replace her, has been typically vile and hysterical.

They’ve held vigils threatening ‘civil war’, threatened to kill Mitch McConnell on Twitter, and vowed to ‘burn down the White House to the f*cking ground.’

‘Over our dead bodies. Literally.’ tweeted former CNN pundit Reza Aslan.

‘You dare try and replace her right now and there will be a war,’ tweeted Hollywood actor Russ Tamblyn.

‘If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots,’ warned Washington Post freelancer Laura Bassett, ‘more, bigger riots.’

‘Let this moment radicalize you,’ snarled Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ‘I need you to be ready . . . We can and must fight.’

Sadly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself can’t be excused of some culpability for all this mayhem.

We were told very soon after her passing that she had made one final deathbed statement saying: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.’

I bow to nobody in my admiration of this extraordinary crusader, campaigner, champion of the underdog and fearless, fabulous Badass of a woman.

But when she left that message to the world, she must have known the firestorm it would fuel?

An interior view of the Supreme Court shows the bench draped with black bunting in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

An interior view of the Supreme Court shows the bench draped with black bunting in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

And had she stepped down from the Supreme Court during Obama’s second term, this whole crisis might have been averted. Instead, she gambled on Hillary Clinton winning the last election, and lost.

Brilliant though she was, and I say this respectfully about one of America’s greatest icons, it’s not Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s right to decide who succeeds her.

That’s always been the constitutional right of the President of the United States.

But it’s a right that’s been tossed onto the bonfire of pathetic partisan warring by a shabby bunch of disingenuous, insincere, integrity-devoid charlatans – on both sides of the aisle.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that Republicans would be the ‘the greatest hypocrites in American history’ if they push ahead with President Trump’s nominee to a Supreme Court vote before the election.

Unusually, I think my former co-worker is wrong.

The Democrats are engaging in just as big an act of sickening hypocrisy.

And the intellectual dishonesty in Congress right now stinks like a rotten lobster.

A stain on both their ghastly houses. 

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