I was listening to the radio this morning and heard Mitch McConnell criticize President Obama for “politicizing” the Supreme Court nomination. That comment immediately angered me and gave me a little window into understanding the frustration support for Donald Trump. McConnell accusing President Obama for “politicizing” the judiciary is laughable and is the equivalent of the hypocritical “pot calling the kettle ‘black.'”
Before venturing further into this critique, I want to make clear that I would prefer the Supreme Court nominee to be someone who respects the Constitution and is not prone to judicial activism, which is rampant in our courts. I don’t mean a “strict constructionist” as that term is batted around by conservatives because I don’t think it is possible to strictly interpret the Constitution in all cases. Judges have the responsibility of both enforcing the law as written and interpreting the law when clarity is needed. For example, what conduct constitutes “free speech” under the First Amendment has required significant judicial interpretation. But judges should not make law, as that role is reserved to the Legislature. Justices who are less likely to engage in judicial activism tend to be political conservatives, so I get the motivation of conservatives for delaying the appointment until the next president takes office (assuming their Republican candidate prevails). But let’s not deceive ourselves into believing that Senate Republicans’ conduct in response to President Obama’s judicial appointment is anything other than political.
Ironically, conservatives clamor for strict constructionist judicial appointees, ones who have deep respect for the Constitution, and yet these same conservatives flaunt the Constitution by obstructing the judicial nomination process. There simply is no basis other than politics for denying President Obama’s judicial nominee the “advice and consent” of the Senate. Nevertheless, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley stated promptly after Justice Scalia’s death that he would not hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee no matter who was nominated. Now let that sink in. How in God’s green Earth is that not “politicizing” the judicial appointment process?
Conservatives are not alone in their hypocrisy. Following McConnell’s ludicrous “politicizing” comment, news coverage turned to President Obama’s participation in an attempted filibuster of Justice Samuel Alito’s nomination in 2006. To be fair, President Obama’s comments at the time justifying the filibuster were about his perception of Justice Alito’s qualifications. Nevertheless, President Obama also participated in obstructionist activity and now criticizes Republicans for obstruction. If you aren’t red-faced by now, you should be.
This political double-speak by Republicans and Democrats is exactly why Americans are so frustrated with government and why Congressional approval rating is in the tank. So many on the Hill seem genuinely disingenuous. It’s absolutely maddening. This is the very conduct that has fueled the fire of Donald Trump’s success. People are simply angry and fed up with politicians’ hypocrisy. Personally, I prefer not to support a reckless and immoral candidate in hasty response, but I definitely understand the anger and frustration.
My call is for Christians, both politicians and voters, to re-orient around Biblical principles. It is not enough to do something in the name of Christ without obedience to His commands. As the Bible says, “let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no” [James 5:12]–in other words, pure honesty. The Bible also states that leaders are not to be “double-tongued” [1 Timothy 3:8] and that “empty talkers and deceivers . . . must be silenced” [Titus 1:10-11]. Oh how deathly quiet would be Capitol Hill if the Bible was a litmus test for leadership.