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Is it hypocrisy or tradition?

There is enormous one-sided reporting contending that Republicans are hypocrites for blocking the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland at the end of President Obama’s term in office and planning on proceeding with the confirmation of whomever President Trump nominates for the Supreme Court.

It is true that the Republicans said that they should not confirm Garland in a presidential election year – and now they are going to try to confirm a Trump nominee … in an election year.  Of course, the media fails to mention that Democrats were arguing in favor of holding a vote on Garland – but now they are arguing that no appointment should be made in a presidential election year.  So, who are the hypocrites?

There is no end of talking heads on television saying that Republicans are violating tradition … precedent … violating the rules.  In fact, the only rule is the United States Constitution, and it says that Trump and the Republicans have every right to nominate and confirm a high court justice to replace the deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  In addition, according to the Constitution (the rules), the Republican-controlled Senate had every right to block the vote on Garland.

So, what about the traditional argument?  The President’s critics are wrong about that.  Tradition and precedent are more than just the 2016 presidential election.  Tradition – in the long sense — is actually on the Republican’s side.

Since the founding of our Republic, there have been 29 Supreme Court vacancies that arose in a presidential election year – and 29 presidential nominations.  Imagine that … 29!  But it gets more interesting when you analyze what happened to those 29 nominations.

There were 19 instances in which the White House and the Senate were controlled by the same party.  Of those 19 nominations, 17 were confirmed – regardless of which party happened to be in control.  There were 10 instances in which the White House and the Senate were held by different parties.  In that case, only one of the 10 nominees was confirmed.

What happened in 2016 – when one party (Democrats) held the White House and a different party (Republicans) controlled the Senate, the nominee, Merrick Garland, was defeated ACCORDING TO TRADITION.  In 2018, Republicans had the White House and the Senate and the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was confirmed.  This presidential year, Republicans have the White House and the Senate.  ACCORDING TO TRADITION, they should – and probably will – seat the new justice on the Supreme Court.

The tradition continues because that is what the rules (the Constitution) allow.  That is how politics work.  That is what we mean when we remind ourselves that elections have consequences.

Democrats can squeal like a punctured porker,  but they are wrong on both the rules AND the tradition.

So, there ‘tis.

Editor’s Note: Thought I would include this link, just to be funny:

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan Tyree

    We can’t take a chance on a Biden nominee. Seeing that Marxist are calling the shots, they would quickly unravel the constitution. Ginseng was a liberal hack that made laws from the bench instead of interpreting it. Good riddance!!!!! If we were to lose the White House and the senate a Trump scotus could be all that we would have to save this republic.

  2. Renu Lloyd

    That’s not the point. McConnell, Graham, Cruz, Rubio and even candidate Trump said “no SCOTUS seat should be filled in an election year“. They never said when the WH and Senate are Held by two different parties, it will be filled by the next POTUS.

    • Larry Horist

      As the commentary points out, it is the long tradition that when one party holds the White House and the Senate, presidential year nominations succeed. When held by different parties, they fail.200 years of tradition is hard to set aside. It appears tradition will prevail again and the new justice will be sworn in before Election Day.