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Editorial: Rubio and Senate stand small when it comes to the Supreme Court

By Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Political News

The Supreme Court nomination is in. The drama now moves to the Senate, where members like Marco Rubio can abide by the principles they once preached.

Florida's senior senator could stand up in the Senate chamber and proclaim, "I said in 2016 that we should not consider a nomination made in the last year of a president's term. Therefore, I will vote no on this nominee."

Rubio could say that, but he won't. He - and others like him - will pretend the doctrine he applied when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland does not apply to President Donald Trump.

Rubio and his fellow Republicans won't be the only members who will check their principles at the door of the Senate chamber.

"The Constitution is 100% clear. The President of the United States has the right to nominate someone to be a justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate's function is to hold hearings and to vote."

So declared Bernie Sanders in 2016, echoing just about every Democratic senator. Now they are saying that view of the Constitution is 100% clearly wrong and voting on Trump's nominee would "defile the Senate."

 

Welcome to the Supreme Court Circus, 2020 Edition. Plutonium-grade hypocrisy is nothing new on Capitol Hill, but a vacancy on the nation's highest court brings out the worst in American politics.

The standard practice used to be if a nominee passed an FBI background check and had the required intellect, Senate approval was a given. That dignified exercise in democracy has descended into self-defiling tribal warfare.

Recall the cringe-inducing Judiciary Committee hearings for Brett Kavanaugh two years ago. The nadir came when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse grilled Kavanaugh over passages in a 30-year-old high school yearbook and what he meant by the word "boof."

When it comes to opinion polls, the legislative branch cannot sink much lower. The danger is that nominating spectacles will drag down the one branch of government the public still respects.

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