Commentary: Supreme Court Decisions

By: Mark Thomas
Photo Courtesy of Mark Thomas

McConnell is playing to win

By Pawan Naidu

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers. This week’s Supreme Court decisions have not only given President Trump a major win, but it also gives McConnell a reason to celebrate.

The Supreme Court voted (5-4) to uphold the current version of the Trump’s administration travel ban. This is the third version of the ban, with previous versions being struck down in the lower courts. The high court also voted to eliminate the California law that mandates crisis pregnancy centers give patients information about options regarding getting an abortion.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor compared the decision to uphold the travel ban to the 1944 ruling that upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II, Korematsu v. United States, which is almost universally recognized as a shameful mistake. The court overturned it Tuesday.

Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died during the 2016 presidential campaign and left a vacancy in the nation’s highest court. Justice Scalia was considered to be conservative in his beliefs. McConnell said to the Washington Post that the country was too close to electing a new president, and the next president should be the one to choose the nominee to fill the vacancy.

When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, McConnell stayed true to his word and refused to give Garland a hearing. He was vilified by Democrats and legal experts, claiming what McConnell did was unprecedented and a slap in the face to political decorum.

Trump won the presidency, and Justice Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice.

“Elections have consequences.”

I bet you thought these were the words of McConnell; actually, this is what President Obama said during debate over the affordable care act. Republicans were furious over the proposed health care bill, but Obama said voters elected Democrats to push their agenda.

President Obama wanted to have a debate, but at the end of the day, he was going to carry out what his supporters wanted him to. McConnell has loyalty to his supporters as well, and we all need to accept that this is what politics is.

Should elected officials only cater to their base, and not reach across the aisle? Politicians are elected on the promises they make to their constituents and are held accountable for their decisions. Both Republicans and Democrats want their policies to be implemented because they believe the other side is wrong.

Had McConnell allowed a Democratic president to nominate a Supreme Court justice, he might as well of retired from politics. He is expected to carry out the conservative agenda, and how much would political decorum matter to his base?

If Bernie Sanders were elected president and had resistance passing legislation that would move the country towards universal health care, do you think he would have conceded to a Republican Congress? We all know he would have shown up to Capitol Hill himself and come close to trading blows with senators to fight for what he believes in.

Gorsuch has been the deciding vote in rulings involving: immigration, abortion, voting rights and more. McConnell feels this is justification for his very controversial decision; he’s even trolling democrats at this point, by posting a picture with Gorsuch after the ruling.

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he is retiring after this session, and Trump will have the chance to nominate someone who is more conservative than Gorsuch. Amy Barrett went through a grueling hearing to be selected as a circuit judge in the seventh district because liberals were afraid she’ll let her religious view get in the way of her legal expertise. She was praised after the hearing and touted as a potential Supreme Court nomination.

If this happens, conservatives are going to celebrate, and Trump and McConnell would be keeping their promises. Both of them promised to “Make America Great Again” by pushing a conservative agenda.

We vote in elections for policies aligned with our beliefs, and the winners have the opportunity to carry them out. Democrats have concerns about republican appointees and legislation, and their future impact to the country. Well, we have a midterm election in a couple of months and this will show whether the country has the same concerns.

Trump wouldn’t be able to push the policies he wants if there is a Democratic majority in Congress, which doesn’t give the legislation a vote. He won’t nominate Barrett if Democrats control the Senate. Republicans posed as resistance to Obama from 2014 to 2016. Democrats could have that opportunity if they win in November.

You won’t hear me complaining about Congress obstructing the president, because the American people voted for a Congress to obstruct the president’s agenda.

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