Many people who care deeply about America are greatly saddened today by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an extraordinary champion of equal rights and one who fought sexism and discrimination herself to become one of America's great justices.
But we are also saddened by the prospect of the criminal who occupies the White House and his lying Republican henchmen in the Senate rushing through a right wing Trump nominee with just over one month left before the November 3 election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) already has said he will reject Justice Ginsburg's dying wish that her successor be selected by the president who is elected on November 3. McConnell could care less about that. His goal is to pack the Court with another conservative hardliner, an act that could have tragic consequences for decades to come.
As Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) just said today, "McConnell's goal, maybe above all others, is to pack the courts with partisan ideologues who will protect corporations at the expense of workers, will suppress people’s right to vote, and will allow the wealthy to buy our elections. And make absolutely no mistake about it, if he gets his way in this Supreme Court fight, that will be the end of Roe v. Wade."
That last item mentioned by Sanders is certain to rev up Trump's already dedicated cult of supporters along with evangelicals, many of whom may have been wavering because of their discomfort with other Trump actions like his adulterous behavior over the years.
Then, Sanders goes on to say that "thankfully, not all Republicans agree with Mitch McConnell, especially if their past words from 2016 are any guide." And then, he listed these quotes from a number of his GOP colleagues:
Senator Lindsey Graham (2016)
"I want you to use my words against me. 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."
Well, already Graham has lined up behind Trump, tweeting: "I will support President
@realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg."
Senator Ted Cruz (2016)
"It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don't do this in an election year." Cruz, a potential nominee, also changed his tune today, stressing how important it is for a president to meet his responsibility of nominating Supreme Court justices.
Senator Cory Gardner (2016)
"I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision."
Senator Marco Rubio (2016)
"I don’t think we should be moving on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term — I would say that if it was a Republican president ."
Senator Rob Portman (2016)
"It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it’s been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year."
And a number of senators have weighed in more recently:
Senator Lisa Murkowski, just yesterday:
"I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election."
Senator Chuck Grassley in May:
"You can’t have one rule for Democratic presidents and another rule for Republican presidents."
Senator Susan Collins very recently:
"I think that’s too close, I really do," when asked about appointing a justice in October.
We'll see if those sentiments hold when push comes to shove, when Trump submits a nominee, and demands confirmation before the election.
Hopefully, for the good of the nation, some of these Republicans will stay true to their word and join Democrats in holding off action on a Ginsburg replacement until the new president takes office in January.
After all, maybe they will heed their own words from 2016 when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In a letter sent to McConnell, eight GOP senators -- including Graham -- wrote that the Constitution gives the Senate the power to consider nominees, but does not require a vote. Not since 1932 had a Supreme Court nominee been confirmed in an election year for vacancy arising in that year, they said.
Here's their letter, edited for circumstances today.