Senator Mitch McConnell claimed that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was engaging in scary or crazy behavior during an official visit of the United States to Ecuador. McConnell was disturbed by the secretary's criticism of Ecuadorian government's attempt to undermine its independence. McConnell resisted this accusation while Joe Biden's presidential commission on judiciary reform threatened the concept of an independent, insulated judiciary.
McConnell's hypocrisy is unquestionable. McConnell will make you reconsider your belief that he is at a point beyond which even he can have the decency to go. McConnell's decade-long campaign to make all levels of the judiciary the legal arm for the Republican Party has resulted in Bidens commission. This is so that partisan courts could provide the ultimate guarantee of Republican hegemony even as the party is becoming a minority in American politics.
McConnell's ideal of an independent judiciary is why he placed such a virtual blockade on the nominees of Barack Obama for judicial office, if only to make sure there were enough openings for the next Republican president. Merrick Garlands was nominated in 2016, but McConnell sat on it for almost a year. McConnell claimed that because it was an election year, we had no choice but to wait until the American people had weighed in with their votes. It is not required by the Constitution or the Senate rules. The Senate Majority Leader does not have the authority to decide which nominee gets a hearing. If one wants to control the Court's ideological/partisan makeup, one can invoke such an arbitrarily defined standard. This was made more evident by the sudden passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which created an opening for the court in the final stages of the 2020 campaign. McConnell suddenly had no use of his 2016 rule that the American people should be heard. The majority leader with reckless abandon secured Amy Barretts appointment via a party-line vote. So much for an independent judiciary.
Continue the story
Secretary Blinken's comments on the pressure placed on Ecuadoran courts were made within the context of the threat to democracy that such coercion represents. McConnell doesn't want to consider this larger context because it would force McConnell to acknowledge the parallel war against democracy in his country. The majority leader twice refused to serve as an impartial juror when Donald Trump was convicted of grave abuse of power. He did this first by extorting an ally in order to interfere with our 2020 election and then, one year later, in trying to overturn that election. This conspiracy culminated in January's insurrection. McConnell worked openly with the White House to avoid conviction in the first impeachment. The leader claimed that the Senate couldn't try someone who was no longer in office during the second trial. McConnell did not point out that Trump himself was responsible for delaying trial.
McConnell further compounded this dereliction by filibustering an independent commission to investigate January 6, and the events leading up to it. McConnell, now the minority leader, did not see the need to investigate an attack that threatened the survival and well-being of the republic. His latest anti-democratic deployment of the filibuster was to prevent the Senate majority from passing vital legislation needed to nullify laws which Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed to suppress voting and to assure partisan certification of election results.
McConnells mis-reign as majority lead resulted in the packing of the courts. The judicial system is in dire need of reform to restore independence and equality to the judiciary, which is not bound to any political party.
Robert Emmett Curran, a Georgetown University Professor Emeritus of History, is his name. He lives in Richmond.