GOP attorneys slam McConnell’s ‘naked hypocrisy’ — say it threatens the Supreme Court’s ‘credibility’

GOP attorneys slam McConnell’s ‘naked hypocrisy’ — say it threatens the Supreme Court’s ‘credibility’
Mitch McConnell // Gage Skidmore

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett — President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court — are now underway, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping for a full Senate vote before the presidential election. Two conservative attorneys, Donald B. Ayer and Alan Charles Raul, discuss the politicization of the Supreme Court in an op-ed for USA Today — and as they see it, modern-day Republicans are undermining public trust in the High Court.

Ayer and Raul both have very conservative backgrounds. Ayer is a Department of Justice alumni who served as deputy solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan and deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, and Raul served in senior legal positions under Reagan and President George W. Bush. But both of them believe that McConnell has done too much to politicize the High Court.

"When a vacancy on the Supreme Court arose nine months ahead of the election in 2016," Ayer and Raul write, "Sen. Mitch McConnell said in no uncertain terms: 'The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.' Now, after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg less than two months before Election Day, as voters are already casting ballots in many states, McConnell has reversed his position. His naked hypocrisy threatens the future credibility of our federal judiciary."

Ayer and Raul stress that the purpose of their op-ed is not to discuss Barrett's qualifications but rather, the way in which she has been nominated.

"We believe that the process being pursued is fundamentally unfair and will greatly undermine public trust upon which our democracy depends," the conservative attorneys argue. "Indeed, if Senate Republicans force Judge Barrett through in the waning weeks before a presidential election — after denying President Obama any opportunity for Senate consideration of his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland nearly a year before the 2016 election — the American people will unavoidably see the Supreme Court as just another forum for power politics and political players."

If Barrett is confirmed, Ayer and Raul warn, she will be viewed as a political figure rather than a judicial figure.

"The legitimacy of the judicial branch rests on the principle that judges are independent and unbiased interpreters of the law," the attorneys argue. "A fair process for nomination and selection is crucial to preserving a public perception of the justices of the Supreme Court as neutral jurists, rather than pawns of the political process."

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