In 1976, the Senate named an office building for Michigan Senator Philip Hart. Above the entrance to that building are words written by his colleagues who praised Hart for being…
“A man of incorruptible integrity and personal courage strengthened by inner grace and outer gentleness. …He advanced the cause of human justice, promoted the welfare of the common man and improved the quality of life. …His humility and ethics earned him his place as the conscience of the Senate.”
Whatever remained of Philip Hart’s spirit in the building that bears his name is dead this week, lost in a cloud of unethical, purely political actions taken by Senate Republicans in a shameful display of power to assure that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is appointed to the highest court in the land in time to determine the fate of Affordable Care Act on which more than 22 million Americans depend.
Presiding as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee is hypocrite in chief, Lindsey Graham.
Remember Graham’s statement shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia when Senate Republicans denied President Obama’s nominee Judge Garland even a hearing?
“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.”
Running for president in 2015, Graham told CNN, “This is a defining moment in the future of the Republican Party. We have to reject this demagoguery, and if we don’t reject Donald Trump, we’ve lost the moral authority…”
The morally bankrupt Graham has literally sold his political soul and ethical conscience to Donald Trump.
If I were sitting on the Senate committee, I would look Senator Graham in the eye – assuming he’d have the courage to look in my direction – and tell him this:
“You lied, Senator. You lied to the American people. You lied to the Constitution to which you pledged your duty and which provides that you hold hearings for President Obama’s nominee. And given your track record, you’re likely to lie again, Senator.”
But Graham is not not alone in his reversal. Iowa Senators Joni Ernest and Chuck Grassley reversed their public statements in not holding hearings for a new Justice until after the election.
Despite the likelihood that Republicans will confirm Barrett before the election, New Jersey Democrat, Senator Cory Booker’s opening statement summarized the will of the American people.
“It’s a charade to say this is a normal judiciary committee hearing for a Supreme Court nomination,” Booker said. “There’s nothing about this that is normal. It’s not normal for Senate Republicans rushing through a confirmation hearing violating their own words, their own statements, betraying the trust of the American people and their colleagues and failing to take even this hearing in the most basic safety protection to protect people around them, all to ensure that tens of millions of people will lose their health care when we are 7 months into one of the worst health crises in the history of our country.
“It’s not normal.
“This is not normal that millions of Americans… are scared of a deadly virus.… They’re scared that their government and their institutions manipulated by people who could not work through the democratic process, [will] take away their healthcare…
“Nothing about this today, is normal. This is not normal.
“What is going on today in America in the midst of a deadly pandemic, an ongoing election having a rushed Supreme Court nomination hearing is… not… normal. And we cannot normalize it.
“People are voting right now. The American people should decide. The American people should decide. The American people should decide.”
Character, courage and integrity have no home in the Hart Senate Office Building this week.