Op Ed

Ron Johnson’s High Court Hypocrisy

His stand on Trump appointing justice to Supreme Court reverses his view on Obama’s pick.

By - Jul 2nd, 2018 01:23 pm
Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s integrity is demonstrably flimsy, to put it mildly. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to find out that he’s completely flipped his opinion on the rules regarding nominating Supreme Court justices during an election year.

In February 2016, when the late Justice Antonin Scalia passed away suddenly, former President Barack Obama had the opportunity to nominate his successor. But Republicans stalled, arguing that the American people should have a voice in who the next nominee should be, leaving it to Obama’s own successor to make the nomination.

The American people did indeed speak out — with nearly 3 million more voters saying they’d rather Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton be president (and thus, the power to pick the next justice) than Republican candidate Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the Electoral College system made Trump the president, and the people “voicing their opinion” on the matter were ignored. Merrick Garland was tossed aside for Neil Gorsuch, a staunchly conservative choice that the current president can’t stop boasting about.

Johnson was among several GOP lawmakers who made the bogus argument in favor of stalling Garland’s nomination. He met with Obama’s nominee to the High Court in May, and said he was happy to do so, but would not be voting to confirm him in the Senate. His reasoning?

“Let the American people have a voice in the composition of the Supreme Court,” he said at the time.

He made a specific plea to entrust the next president, and also a new…Senate,”which would be “elected by the people only a few months from now…[to] make that important decision,” Johnson said.

Johnson made those comments about six months before the election took place. Now in 2018, however, just two years after he supported the idea of delaying a vote (and only four months until the next election), Johnson has changed his tune, completely abandoning the idea of the people having a say in the decision.

This past week, Johnson said that, with Anthony Kennedy’s announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court, the Senate should “expeditiously move toward the nomination process.” He agreed with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellwho said a vote should come as early as this fall.

The Cook Political Report currently projects eight Senate seats to be “toss-ups,” which could fundamentally alter the makeup of that chamber, and change the rubber-stamp status of the Senate for Trump’s nominee in significant ways.

The hypocrisy displayed by Republicans couldn’t be plainer. Johnson himself said two years ago that, not only would a new president be needed to confirm a people-endorsed choice for the High Court, but that a new Senate would be necessary as well. Today, those concerns are completely washed over.

If Republicans like McConnell and Johnson are to be consistent, they should halt the nomination process at once, and wait until January to consider a new choice for the Court. They created a new set of rules initially by stonewalling Obama’s choice. Now, they’re changing the rules again. The American people should see through this facade, and demand consistency from the GOP.

Chris Walker writes a blog at https://trendpinion.wordpress.com/

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

13 thoughts on “Op Ed: Ron Johnson’s High Court Hypocrisy”

  1. frank schneiger says:

    The word “should,” as in “they should….” has such a hopeful quality. Unfortunately, it is misplaced hope because it is based on the notion that, in a functioning democracy, a group of people with power will try to do the right and “consistent” thing. Those days are over. And the fact that Ron Johnson is a hypocrite and usually doesn’t know what he is talking about is largely irrelevant to the real problem.

    That problem is that the country is now a corporate controlled plutocracy, led by a pathologically lying narcissist for the sole benefit of four groups: large corporations; a sliver of the wealthiest people; the president, his family and associates; and the so-called “base,” which consists of a substantial portion of the white population that ranges from those who see the world as a zero-sum to the now-empowered neo-Nazis, racists and nativists, many of whom seem to have landed jobs in the Trump administration.

    In the old western series “Cheyenne,” the hero, Clint Walker, is hauled before a kangaroo court somewhere in the wild west. At some point, the judge demands, “Are you showing contempt for this court?” Cheyenne replies, “No judge, I’m trying to hide it.” That is the crisis that the United States is likely to face in the near future, one in which the Supreme Court has the “power” of a majority that already includes right wing extremists (Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch) and will likely soon add at least one more. What the Court, along with other institutions, are losing is any moral authority, the authority that comes from consistency, telling the truth and respect for “the others” and their rights. And with the loss of moral authority goes the loss of legitimacy.

    In that world, Ron Johnson and the Republicans’ inconsistency and hypocrisy are largely irrelevant. Predicting the future is a tricky business, but it is very likely that, in the near future, neither the almost certain upcoming recession, the inescapable reality that the president’s North Korea “deal” is a dangerous farce, the irrefutable evidence that the president is a criminal and a fraud, or the many ongoing “inconsistencies” will shake the loyalty of corporate elites, the richest people, or the base, so long as the latter continues to be fed the red meat of ongoing attacks on scapegoat groups, none of whom, except for the hated liberals, happen to be white.

    What they “should do” is not going to matter much. Especially, once we face a full-blown legitimacy crisis. As Bette Davis said, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  2. Richard E. Schallert says:

    Very well said! And the only valid reply to all this Republican hypocrisy is a truly BLUE TSUNAMI by Democrats, Progressive, Liberals,etc. Yet these groups always seem to be big on “talking”, and not as strong on VOTING!!! So often, they remind me of what a number of coaches you to say to our teams, “Winners never quit; and quitters never win!!{ GOTV efforts must be tripled and sustained through November 6th.

  3. MKE Kid says:

    frank/robbies, could we just get completely bombed at the National Bar on fermented envelope glue? I feel so helpless nowadays. My degree from the U of L has proved worthless despite my best efforts to achieve relevance.
    Nothing matters anymore.

  4. frank schneiger says:

    MKE Kid: Let me respond to your desperate cry for help one point at a time. First, although it was the center or our community and intellectual life on the south side, we must face the painful reality that the National Liquor Bar is gone. All that we can do is periodically make pilgrimages to the sign in Mukwonago. Second, stay away from the fermented envelope glue. It is the crack cocaine of our troubled times. Stationary stores are being looted by desperate envelope heads.

    Next, as long as we still have Leon’s, we must keep hope alive. It is the new center of political thought and activism on the south side. The weekly meetings in the alley behind the parking lot are must attend events.

    Finally, your University of Lawsonomy degree is not worthless. Many of your credits can be transferred to Poupon U (Mt. Horeb campus), and, as I recall as your faculty advisor at the U of L, you were an excellent student, and your doctoral dissertation blew the lid off the story of plutonium laced Waukesha water and the generation of Trump crazed political mutants that it had produced. Your work is more relevant than ever.

    Don’t give up hope, at least not until the end of this month.

  5. Maureen Burke says:

    I had written to Senator Johnson (and I use that term loosely) about the fact that Republicans would not even bring Merrick Garland up for consideration for Supreme Court Justice; his response was “let the people decide.” (in the 2016 election). I have come to the conclusion that Johnson, McConnell, Ryan and the Supreme Court really don’t have much to do with my life.

    Speaking of Mitch McConnell, isn’t it a conflict of interest that his wife, Elaine Chou, has a cabinet position in the Trump administration? How can he be unbiased toward Trump? There should be a law against a senator or congressman’s spouse working for the administration. Elaine Chou is part of the “Swamp.”

  6. Joel Ambelang says:

    Ron Johnson’s ignorance, which seems to be reflective of many “leaders” in our present political arena, is stunning.
    We don’t live in a plebiscite. If they really want to constantly change the rules then let’s actualize the plebiscite and call for new elections now. We, the people, will then exercise our power as Johnson, et al., have directed.

  7. frank schneiger says:

    Maureen Burke: There are lots of disturbing comments posted here, mostly by far-right bigots, but when you say that these people and the actions of this administration and the Supreme Court, “don’t really have much to do with my life,” that is really disturbing. We are all citizens, and we have a government that claims to speak for us that is doing the following: destroying families and damaging the lives of children based on lies and violations of both our law and international law; complicit in a genocidal assault that will starve millions of people in Yemen; undermining the rule of law and the institutions of democracy in numerous ways that may be irreversible; making lying normal; undermining a free press; undermining democracies and our relations with democratic countries while cozying up to brutal dictatorships; making self-dealing and corruption seem normal, as in a banana republic; bankrupting our government and paving the way for the destruction of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; unleashing the worst elements in law enforcement communities; and encouraging and empowering the worst, most bigoted and most ignorant elements in our society.

    Those things have a lot to do with all of our lives, even if our kids aren’t being snatched and used as hostages, we are not starving or being bombed in Yemen, etc., etc.

  8. Thomas says:

    Yo Joel, we should call for new elections now. It is becoming increasingly clear that Trump stole the 2016 election with the help of Russians who were interested in the demise of our democracy.

    Mitch the (your rhyme here) stole a Supreme Court Justice appointment from Obama and had it fenced to Trump. Trump had no business getting to pick a justice. Democrats must do everything in their power to keep the Donald from getting a second pick. A 2nd supreme court pick by that tool could make our highest court a tool of fools long after the current resident of the White House leaves office – even if he is forced to leave office before the end of a first term.

  9. Maureen Burke says:


    You sound quite self-righteous – all of the things you say are true, but the only way I can live with current amoral administration in Washington is to distance myself from their destructive actions – the last year and a half have been some of the most depressing in our history – both my parents fought in WWII for a better world and to rid the world of the evil of Nazi Germany, and I certainly don’t need you to lecture me about what is wrong in the world.

  10. frank schneiger says:

    Maureen, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to sound self-righteous or to lecture anyone. But, look at what you said.

  11. chris says:

    Today on the 4th of July, our nations celebration of our sovereignty, Johnson is in Moscow genuflecting and on their knees for Putin and his puppets, in closed door meetings with no over site by the press or US government officials. Guess they are all looking at what they can do to cash out in our next election. The dynamics are appalling. The whole Republican party is complicit in Trumps corruption and the interference in our elections in 2016. Lots of cash flowed from Ukrainians into PACS. My father a vet of WW2, pushing Hitler back to Germany in the Bulge is rolling over in his grave!

  12. Richard E. Schallert says:

    I can concur with that sense of “helplessness” too many people have right now! Yet think back to when the Nazis dominated Europe during WW 2 for about four years. That was a severely depressing time and situation for them. Yet many people RESISTED in a multiple of ways! Most of their activities were very dangerous, but they realized they had to do it!!
    We are not in that kind of danger, of course! (At least for the foreseeable future, I hope!). So we CAN AND MUST ALL DO SOMETHING AND CONTINUE DOING IT. “Bury” Mitch McConnell’s staff in mail of all sorts, just to overwhelm his staff. And keep it up; “a postcard or letter a day” will create problems for his office! Call your own Senator at least three times a week. Don’t be nasty, but be very specific about your concerns. I clip relevant articles out of newspapers and magazines and send them to o=Johnson and Gallagher, asking them to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!! Keep letting them know that We, the People are here; we are concerned and we are going to hold them accountable!! RESIST! THE GENERAL ELECTION IS COMING SOON@n And get everyone you can to pledge to vote!!!

  13. mr. parker says:

    Stop the progressive train in its tracks.
    The DNC doesn’t represent Americans or legal immigrants anymore.

    Since this isn’t a presidential year, urge Baldwin to vote for the SCOTUS nominee in the spirit of bipartisanship. Stop playing politics.

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