Remember the pious rationalizaton the Republicans trotted out when they declared that "the people should decide"? That is, they would not even hold hearings on any nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court in an election year. Because the people should have their say through their choice of a new president. Let the next POTUS fill the empty SCOTUS seat, they said.
Of course, that's a bogus argument on the face of it. If that's the principle, then one year out of every four, we could have up to a full year or more with an empty seat on the highest court, handling the most important constitutional questions.
Well, not to worry that this is a principle they will stick to. Not when it looks like Donald Trump is going to lose. It seems there was an unstated footnote to their principle: "but only if a Republican wins the presidency."
Here's their latest line, unabashedly espoused by North Carolina incumbent Sen. Richard Burr -- a Republican, of course. He has a strong challenger and may not be returned to the senate, if Hillary Clinton carries North Carolina.'
But, if he does, Burr is making this a signature campaign promise. “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” he said.
Get what he's saying? He would rather leave the court with only eight members (or even less, if someone else should retire or die) than allow Clinton to appoint a replacement. He's not the only one. John McCain made the same pledge, not to vote for anyone Clinton nomintes. And Ted Cruz said it's "something we'll have to have a discussion about."
What a difference losing makes. When President Obama first nominated Merritt Garland, McCain put out this press release:
“This issue is not about any single nominee ― it’s about the integrity of the Court. With less than a year left in a lame-duck presidency and the long-term ideological balance of the Supreme Court at stake, I believe the American people must have a voice in the direction of the Supreme Court by electing a new president.”
Well, in just one week, the American people are going to speak with that voice. And, if they elect Hillary Clinton, then the people are saying they want her to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.
But these Republicans are revealing their true, unprincipled colors. It's time to stop letting them get away with pretending to have principles, when their behavior keeps revealing that they have none -- except demonizing the opposition, suppressing voters, and lying to the people as their only hope of winning.
Don't let them get away with it.