With the beginning of the autumn season, we have been thinking of a fast-moving mountain creek. Where the water is crisp, fresh, cold and flowing over stones smoothed by the flow and in the sunshine reflect a multitude of colors like yellow, orange, green, blue and violet. We are going to call this Deception Creek.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s linguistic gymnastics to explain how the Senate will find time to vote on the Supreme Court nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an election year reminds us of the creek we are thinking of.
McConnell could not find the time to vote on the replacement to Antonin Scalia when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland. Perhaps the majority leader is seeing different colors this time in his reflection in Deception Creek.
More importantly, it appears that McConnell has crossed the unspoken philosophical understanding that people mean, words don’t. In 2016, McConnell meant it when he declared that a nominee to the Supreme Court will not receive a vote during a presidential campaign year. In 2020, one would expect him to honor his words from four years ago, but his personal agenda matters more and there will likely be a vote on the nominee.
The majority leader is fond of saying that many Americans favor a right-of-center Supreme Court. This is a noble opinion to have. And we have no argument with it.
In the larger picture, the judiciary is one of three equal parts that form our federal government, beside the legislative and executive branches. And our form of democracy is the one that advances with reforms. The greatest hallmark to reform is that it incorporates the best ideas from the best sides of the aisle. In the judicial world, the best decisions are the ones that irritate both sides of the argument while presenting the best possible solution to the issue being reviewed by the high court.
When the writers of the United States Constitution crafted the guideposts that govern our judiciary and provided that a judgeship is a lifetime appointment, they were wise to do so. The life expectancy was not what is enjoyed today. And it conveyed a sense of stability in this branch of government. Perhaps it is time for our country to begin debating reforms to the tenets of membership on the high court. For example, tenure should be introduced for a Supreme Court justice. We are thinking that a 14-year term would be a good starting point.
Standing beside a creek on an autumn day and seeing one’s reflection change as the water moves is relaxing and refreshing. A moving creek is everlasting and so are the actions of the Senate whether it is an election year or not.