Republican blogger John Tsitrian joins me in criticizing Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds for refusing to give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing. Tsitrian says that rejecting any nominee a priori, without reviewing the nominee’s actual qualifications, is antithetical to the values of good South Dakota leaders “who independently examine and analyze their options before coming to conclusions and decisions.”
Tsitrian also catches Senator Rounds misquoting the Constitution:
Senator Rounds comes up even shorter, actually having the gall to misquote the Constitution. In his statement issued yesterday, Rounds, reciting from a letter sent by Mitch Mconnell to the President, claims that the Constitution says that “the President “may” nominate judges of the Supreme Court.” This is such an awful misrepresentation of the Constitution that it calls Mike Rounds’ competence into question. As I noted above, the Constitution is clear. The President “SHALL” nominate, Senator Rounds. It doesn’t say he MAY nominate. Get it? There’s a difference between “shall” and “may.” Obama is only following through on his Constitutional mandate. It would be nice if Senators Rounds and Thune would stand up for themselves and us South Dakotans and do the same [John Tsitrian, “SD Senators Thune And Rounds Are Playing Politics On Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee. Do They Wonder Why The Trump Wrecking Ball Is Demolishing Our GOP?” The Constant Commoner, 2016.03.17].
(Rounds comes up even shorter—har har!)
Tsitrian makes an excellent point. May and shall are very different words. Senator Rounds tries to make it sound as if the President’s action is optional and ignorable. The Constitution uses shall to say the action is mandatory. The inclusion of the Senate after that mandating auxiliary verb—the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court…”—could indicate that the Senate is under as much obligation as the President to act on nominations. That shall does not require the Senate to rubber-stamp every nominee, but it does suggest that the Senate must go through the process, not just sit on its hands and refuse to consider any nomination. The Constitution most certainly does not say, “The President shall nominate and the Senate shall take a vacation starting in February before the general election.”
Tsitrian tucks into his critique an interesting twist of the argument that the Republican Party has created Donald Trump. I have contended that Donald Trump is simply playing the fiddle that the GOP has strung, appealing to the voodoo economics, xenophobia, and other reason-rejecting Fox News fantasies on which Republicans have campaigned for the last three decades. Yet Tsitrian argues that support for Trump could be a reaction to Republican obstructionism:
Anybody wondering how Donald Trump could suddenly emerge and become the scourge of my Republican Party need only look at the wussiness our SD Senators are showing on the Supreme Court nomination. John Thune and Mike Rounds are the perfect paradigms of the “all talk, no action” catchphrase that practically defines the contempt shown to our leadership by Trump, much to the resounding endorsement that Trump’s campaign has been getting by enough Republican primary voters to put him on track to be the party’s nominee in November [Tsitrian, 2016.03.17].
I’ve suggested Trump voters are a cancer created by Republican free radicals. Tsitrian is suggesting Trump voters are a wave of powerful antibodies aroused by Republican crud and corruption, antibodies that I would contend are running rampant and damaging healthy tissue as well as the disease that provoked their growth. Either way, Thune, Rounds, and their fellow Republicans have put the body politic in peril.