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Our Voices Should Be Heard!

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 18/03/2016 Marjorie P Dugan, PHD
SUPREME COURT © bbourdages via Getty Images SUPREME COURT

Senator Mitch McConnell claims that the American people should choose the next Supreme Court Justice -- after the next presidential election. But he seems to have forgotten and chooses to disenfranchise the majority of Americans who have made their voices heard in 2008 and in 2012.
Shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senator McConnell announced that the Senate would not do anything to fill the Supreme Court vacancy during the final year of the Obama presidency. In fact, Senator McConnell insisted that President Obama dare not nominate someone for the Supreme Court vacancy -- despite the fact, as noted in the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the President to do so, and for the Senate to act on this nomination.
It was with tremendous excitement and great hope for the future of our country that we celebrated the election of Barack Obama, our country's first Black President. Sadly, this celebration was short-lived. Senator Mitch McConnell was quick to define his own mission as U.S. Senate Minority Leader. Senator Robert F. Bennett (Utah) quoted Senator McConnell as saying:

'We have a new president with an approval rating in the 70 percent area. We do not take him on frontally. We find issues where we can win, and we begin to take him down, one issue at a time. We create an inventory of losses, so it's Obama lost on this, Obama lost on that. And we wait for the time where the image has been damaged to the point where we can take him on."

In effect, Senator McConnell chose to thwart the will of the American people. He did not care that Americans had spoken and, as a majority, elected President Obama (electoral college 365 v. 173; popular vote 52.9% v 45.7%).

After President Obama's victory in 2012, Senator McConnell again ignored the will of the American people. He boldly claimed that he would make sure that "this President" would accomplish nothing during his second term in office. One wonders the reaction if this had been said by Senator Harry Reid about a Republican President. However, once again, Senator McConnell did not care about the will of the Americans who, as a majority, elected President Obama.
During the subsequent seven years, on countless occasions, we have observed Senator McConnell demonstrate the "politics of obstruction" (with the support of then Speaker of the House John Boehner and now Paul Ryan): refusals to discuss the Federal budget; refusals to extend the debt ceiling (which has been raised 70 times since 1960 without incident until this President); refusal to invite the Budget Director to present the President's budget to Congress (for the first time in the history of this process); failing to challenge the action and legitimacy of the 47 Republican Senators who signed an open letter to the "leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran" warning that any agreement without legislative approval was essentially worthless - undermining our administrations efforts internationally, during multi-nation negotiations regarding nuclear weapons with Iran. These efforts/actions have been aimed at embarrassing President Obama - but Senator McConnell, Speakers and his colleagues have also demonstrated tremendous disrespect for the American citizens who raised their voices and voted as a majority in two elections, for President Obama.
Recent public comments, as well as radio and television ads, some mentioning Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan by name, claim that the current Supreme Court vacancy should not be filled until the "voices of the American people can be heard" - after the 2016 Presidential election, despite the fact, as noted in the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the President to do so, and the Senate to act on this nomination. Can anyone truly believe that either President Kennedy or President Reagan would tolerate being told they could not nominate a Supreme Court Justice at any point in their presidencies, even during their last year in office? That their Presidencies were meaningless? That the voices of the people who had elected them were to be ignored and silenced? Of course not! The disrespect Senator McConnell and many of his Republican colleagues continue to demonstrate towards the President who we the people elected, sends us the message that only certain voices count. How dare they!
Now, we the people - must raise our voices anew to tell our Senators to let the President do his job, appoint a nominee to the Supreme Court, and, to do their Constitutional duty by giving that nominee a hearing.

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