With a year left in his second term, Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Garland is well-respected by both the Left and the Right. His qualifications are clear. And his record is spotless. His nomination should have breezed through the Senate. Instead, it never came up for a vote.
Instead, the Senate majority leader – Mitch McConnell – refused to allow Garland even an interview. Let alone a vote. Although the next election was a year away, McConnell insisted voters should have a voice in the decision.
Of course, McConnell quickly cited the Constitution’s “voters’ voice” rule in Article… Um. No. Hold on a minute. There is no “voters’ voice” reference regarding the confirmation of judges. The concept is just something McConnell invented to prevent President Obama from naming a Supreme Court justice.
Welcome to the Republicans’ world… where following the Constitution is strictly optional.
Beware the Phony Emoluments Clause
For more than 200 years, politicians on both sides of the aisle took the Constitution to be the law of the land. Apparently, they were mistaken.
Donald Trump has declared the Emoluments Clause “phony” and impeachment “a hoax” and a “witch hunt.”
His press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham – along with other Republicans – have termed the inquiry a “kangaroo court.” As has Trump.
Never mind the process is enshrined in the Constitution. And the GOP used it with glee to attack Bill Clinton. Suddenly, aspects of the Constitution have become “phony.”
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration – with the explicit support of its Congressional allies – has sought to hinder or delegitimize every aspect of the inquiry.
Claiming non-existent powers to prevent Congressional testimony. Pointing to positive economic numbers to “prove” the inquiry is a sham. Even attacking a decorated military officer – and Trump aide – when his honest testimony wasn’t favorable to Trump.
All while trying to gloss over…
- How Trump’s businesses have raked in millions from foreign governments. Such as a lobbyist for Saudi interests rented hundreds of nights in Trump’s Washington hotel.
- Trump sticking taxpayers with over $100 million in bills for stays at his own properties.
- Trump trying to schedule next year’s G7 summit at one of his own golf properties.
All of which Trump’s Congressional defenders appear more than willing to forgive. Especially since Trump is luring Senatorial support with cash.
Cash “Trumps” the Constitution
Donald Trump speaks one language… and one language only. Cash.
Wealth is Trump’s one measure of worth. And spreading it to gain influence his one measure of power.
Which helps explain why Trump is flexing his fundraising muscles to help vulnerable Republican senators. As long as they stand behind him.
If the House votes to impeach, the trial will be held in the Senate. And Trump desperately wants a favorable majority in the Senate.
One way to ensure that is to keep his supporters in office. So, Trump has been “co-fundraising” with GOP Senators whose seats are in peril. At least, those who are reliably in his corner.
Sometime critics – like Maine’s Susan Collins – have been frozen out.
Stand behind Trump, and his influence with mega-donors is yours to exploit. Cross him, and you have to rely on actual voter support to retain your seat.
Politico points out how backing Trump has helped some of the GOP’s most vulnerable senators. “The donors listen to the president,” former George W. Bush aide Scott Jennings, “and he has the most capacity to energize small-dollar contributions by making the case that he needs a Senate majority to be successful.”
In other words, Trump is buying support in the Senate. If he can ensure a senatorial majority in 2020… any impeachment trial could be doomed to failure. Not based on facts, but on cronyism.
For all practical intents and purposes, Trump is attempting to buy support in the Senate.
Call me crazy – and I’m sure the GOP will – but I’m pretty sure that’s not in the Constitution.
Easley, J., “Trump Calls The Constitution Phony While Comparing Himself To George Washington,” PoliticusUSA.com. Oct 21, 2019.
Wagner, J. “Live updates: White House expects impeachment, press secretary says; Trump calls Pelosi and Schiff ‘corrupt politicians’,” Washington Post. Nov 1, 2019.
Isenstadt, A., “Trump lures GOP senators on impeachment with cold cash,” Politico.com. Oct 31, 2019.