Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game: Supreme Court Edition

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game: Supreme Court Edition

Let’s do away with the coyness right off the bat. Republicans’ arguments that the next president should appoint the new Supreme Court nominee are near total bluster. If the roles were reversed they would be screaming. It’s barely an argument, and none of them really believe it as far as constitutional principles are concerned.

Nevertheless, I hear the Utah airwaves and punditry decry Senators Hatch and Lee’s position on the topic, and I remember why everyone hates the establishment.

Local punditocracy say the US Senate should give a hearing to and approve President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee because that’s their job. Waiting until January or even November is too long, too political, and is just another display of congressional gop’ers intransigence.


Every major Democrat currently in office has been this partisan and more. The list and the quotes are endless:

Harry Reid – “The duties of the Senate are set forth in the US Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give Presidential nominees a vote.”

Chuck Schumer – After voting against confirming both of President Bush’s nominees, in 2007 Senator Schumer said, “for the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected…We should reverse the presumption of confirmation…I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances.”

Hillary Clinton – Also voted against both of President Bush’s nominees, and even filibustered Justice Alito, which would have prevented a vote from even happening.

Joe Biden – In 1992, while the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice President Biden argued no SCOTUS nomination should be heard by the Senate in an election year.

Barack Obama – Today, President Obama is all kumbaya we should forget partisan differences and just do what the president says. But back when he was Senator Obama he joined 23 other democrats (including the aforementioned and current Democratic Party candidate for president, Hillary Clinton) in attempting to deny a vote on President Bush’s nominee via filibuster.

Every complaint, every whine by these politicians today is the basest hypocrisy. Democrats invented the politicization of judicial nominees. What they did to Reagan nominee Robert Bork was so awful it’s become its own verb. Democrats have been borking Republican Supreme Court nominees for decades.

And that’s what’s so frustrating about the local punditocracy – Utah politicos’ favorite pastime is smearing our elected officials as extreme, and now they’re lining up to do it again. Ignoring all they’ve said and done, pundits are treating Obama, Biden, Clinton and the rest of the Democrat leadership as if they’re the reasonable ones. And that’s why this cycle is being overrun with burn it all down anti establishmentarians.

Republican voters are tired of getting steamrolled by Democrats’ partisan games and then getting kneecapped by our own Party leadership when we play by the same rules.

And what has it gotten us? A slew of Democratic Party Supreme Court Justices who vote as a partisan bloc. Liberal appointed Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer all vote the party line over 90% of the time. Republican nominated justices? Just 75% on average. Funny how the Party that’s more aggressively partisan on judicial nominations gets more aggressively partisan judges nominated.

Kudos to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quoting Vice President Biden to explain why the Senate is behaving like Democrats with Obama’s nominee. Three cheers for Senator Chuck Grassley for holding his ground in an election year. And thank you Senators Lee and Hatch for standing united.

Stop bringing knives to political gunfights. Be smart, be strategic, and beat the Democrats at their own game.


About author

Cameron Robinson
Cameron Robinson 10 posts

Cameron is a husband and father of five children. He's an accounting controller by trade who's been involved in politics for a decade.

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  • Jason Williams

    The problem with this take is it assumes the Republican position is smart politicizing. While I agree Democrats also use nominees as campaign schadenfreude when advantageous, leaving the court incomplete could mean no appointment until a year from now. That’s a lot of 4/4 split deference to more liberal lower courts (9th cir), a win for ideological liberals. But more immediately, it creates an election year decision for independent voters: Who would you rather have completing the court, a Clinton nominee, or a [Trump][Cruz] nominee. A win for partisan Democrats. It’s a ham handed political strategy for GOP Senators. That’s why I’m personally cheering then on.

    • Cameron Robinson

      Jason, I certainly expect Republican leadership to find a way to bungle this. However, to your points – a 4/4 split is likely better than the 5/4 loss we’d get with another uber partisan Democratic Party nominated Supreme Court justice. And yes, it does create the possibility of swapping a partisan Obama nominee for a partisan Clinton nominee. But that didn’t stop Obama and Clinton from filibustering Bush’s nominees towards the end of his term. Or from Biden saying we should wait until the next president is elected to nominate and hold hearings on more justices. And it certainly didn’t stop Biden and Kennedy from Borking Reagan’s final nominee. In fact, it got them another GOP nominated justice that sides with the progressives more often than not.

    • Cameron Robinson

      And totally redeem themselves!

  • Beau Sorensen

    That’s my concern Jason – I am concerned that we’re going to get a lousy nominee if we wait. This may be the best deal.