When the Democrats and former President Barak Obama wanted to appoint a U.S. Supreme Court justice months before his term ended in 2016, Republicans opposed the appointment.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina pushed vehemently against President Obama’s nomination at the time and told the press to hold him to his words that a president should not appoint Supreme Court justices in an election year. “The American people should have a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president,” he said.
“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “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.'”
This year, and a few weeks from the 2020 presidential election, the Republicans are holding hearings to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court and give the court a large majority of conservative justices, reneging on their pledge to allow the new president to appoint justices to the highest court in the land.
Why would they do that? Well, they have the votes to force their choice of a justice on the nation, someone who is aligned with their conservative values. They have the power and they are exercising it without any regard to what the majority of Americans want.
Democracy is about consensus, and when the minority forces its values on the majority, we are crossing into dictatorship. It seems that Senator Graham has forgotten his request to give the American people “a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee.” The Republicans have the votes, and the voice of the people is irrelevant at this point.
Some Republicans can argue that if the Democrats had the votes, they would do the same. Well, it would still be wrong. The highest court in the land should reflect the country it represents, and packing it with judges who adhere to one ideology would change the course of justice in America for years to come.
For any party to use the rule “because we can” teeters on the brink of tyranny and sets a bad precedent.
It seems that the Republicans are not listening to anyone and want to confirm Judge Barrett. All we can do is hope the damage to our democracy is minimum.