The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last week at the age of 87. She had been battling metastatic pancreatic cancer.
She was a great judge — a trailblazer — though I didn’t see eye-to-eye with all of her decisions.
Since the sad news of her passing, I’ve found unfortunate amusement from the fallout — you know, like it’s so bad you can’t help but look.
Almost immediately after her death, intentions to appoint Ginsburg’s successor before the Nov. 3 general election were announced. Those intentions were and continue to be led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
President Donald J. Trump said he planned to announce his nominee Saturday, after The Covington News’ deadline for the weekend edition.
McConnell and his Republican comrades have been adamant in saying they would do everything in their power to approve the nomination before the presidential election. Democratic senators have been adamant in saying they would do everything in their power to block the nomination.
The reason I find amusement in these recent proceedings started in 2016. Barrack Obama was in the White House and former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died. His seat needed to be filled and, wouldn’t you know, the Republican-controlled Senate’s stance was totally different than it is today. Republican leaders said the Senate should wait and allow the winner of the 2016 presidential election make the nomination.
But it isn’t just the Republicans. Democrats have flip-flopped, too.
In June 1992 — before I was born —then-Sen. Joe Biden suggested if a Supreme Court vacancy were to occur before election day and the president made a nomination, the Senate could wait until after the election to take action. But then he also changed his mind. In 2016, then-Vice President Biden argued Republicans should not wait until after the election to move forward once Obama submitted his nomination.
Now, Biden has opposed the Senate’s intent to move forward with a nomination from the president before the election, calling it “an exercise in raw political power.”
Before her death, even Ginsberg flip-flopped on the matter.
Several reports said her dying wish was that she not be replaced until a “new president” is installed. Does that mean the winner of the Nov. 3 election or the person that succeeds Trump? And while Ginsburg was a great justice, are we inclined to honor this wish, “just because?”
In 2016, Ginsberg took a different stance, calling on the Senate to vote on Obama’s nomination.
“There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year,” she told the New York Times in 2016.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is bipartisan hypocrisy at its finest, and it’s disgusting.
Why is it that seemingly every decision made by government leaders always points back to a reason being for political gain?
Why can’t decisions be based on what our country needs and put our political factions aside?
When it comes to instances such as Supreme Court vacancies, if a precedent is set, our leaders should be held accountable and stick to it. If there isn’t a precedent, then set one and, again, stick to it.
No more flip-flopping because it benefits Democrats’ or Republicans’ agenda.
Our country needs to return to its namesake and be united, yet even this — a childish, Washington tussle over appointing someone to what’s supposed to be a non-partisan position on the Supreme Court — has seemed to widen the chasm.
It’s disheartening, but I think I’ve made that clear enough.
After a life of witnessing the world of politics and having more than a year of parenting under my belt, I see the old saying may be true:
“Politicians, like diapers, should be changed often. And for the same reasons.”
Taylor Beck is the publisher and editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.