“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink”
– George Orwell, 1984
What our nation is experiencing in the wake of the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg qualifies as both rank hypocrisy and fits Orwell’s corollary of “doublethink.”
The hypocrisy is crystal clear and disgusting. It comes out of the mouths of Republican Senators who, only four years ago, fulminated against the prospect that a Democratic president would even contemplate filling the seat of a deceased Supreme Court Justice “a mere” 269 days before the presidential election.
Those who today, without question or introspection, accept their political leaders’ total and shameless reversal in position on Trump’s nomination of a replacement for Justice Ginsburg with only 45 days until the elections, clearly suffer from Orwell’s classical “doublethink” – call it political indoctrination.
Here is a brief selection of statements made by Republican senators then and now.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then:
I believe the overwhelming view of the Republican Conference in the Senate is that this nomination should not be filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame duck president…
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.
Senator Lindsey Graham, then:
I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination…And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.
Now, after having started to gradually backtrack on his promise, Graham tweets, “…I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
Ted Cruz, then: “Well, we have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year…”
I believe that the president should next week nominate a successor to the court… I think it is critical that the Senate takes up and confirms that successor before Election Day…this election, this nomination is why Donald Trump was elected. This confirmation is why the voters voted for a Republican majority in the Senate.
Sen. Charles Grassley, then:
…A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests…
A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice…
Senator John Cornyn, then:
At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, Texans and the American people deserve to have a say in the selection of the next lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
The only way to empower the American people and ensure they have a voice is for the next President to make the nomination to fill this vacancy.
There’s simply just too much at stake to leave the decision in the hands of a president who is headed out the door…
James Inhofe, then:
It makes the current presidential election all that more important as not only are the next four years in play, but an entire generation of Americans will be impacted by the balance of the court and its rulings… I will oppose this nomination as I firmly believe we must let the people decide the Supreme Court’s future.
Sen. David Perdue then: “No Supreme Court nominee should be considered by the Senate before the next president is sworn into office…”
Sen. Joni Ernst then:
This is about the fact that we have a president who is moving out of his residency and we have a very, very significant election coming up where we want the people to speak out. We want to hear their opinion on this. They will do that by electing a new president…
This piece would not be complete without quotes from the great Justice herself — then and “now.”
In February 2016, Ginsburg chastised the Republican-led Senate for not acting on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia: “That’s their job.There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”
Now, just a few days before her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Will they listen?
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.