What’s the matter with Jerry Moran?
When the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, Republicans cannot count on a coward.
The cowardice of Senator Jerry Moran is legendary in Kansas. Former state legislature colleagues tell stories of Moran avoiding tough votes by literally hiding in the state capitol building little boys’ room. Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert singled out Moran in his book describing how Jerry “ran and hid” when he got scared. His former campaign manager says Moran “represents a weathervane in the US Senate, not the good people of Kansas.” It’s no wonder that Jerry is the butt of jokes even among his closest allies.
Jerry Moran is a coward.
Last week, under the enormous, unbearable pressure of a handful of Western Kansas Democrats, Jerry Moran caved and became the third Republican to join Democrats in support of advancing President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee: “I think the process ought to go forward.”
Liberals salivate at the prospect of replacing the late Antonin Scalia with someone in the image of Barack Obama. The president’s nominee, Merrick Garland, is pro-abortion and anti-Second Amendment. The New York Times drools: “A Supreme Court with Merrick Garland would be the most liberal in decades.”
And Jerry Moran says the nomination ought to go forward!
Americans came to know Jerry Moran in 2014 when he, as head of the NRSC, diverted Republicans’ donations in efforts to defeat conservative Republicans in Kansas and Mississippi, even allying with liberals promoting a Democrat get-out-the-vote effort. And now Jerry Moran is joining the Democrats on a matter no less critical than the swing vote on the United States Supreme Court.
It’s not by accident that Kansans For Life has said Jerry Moran “stood with Planned Parenthood” and “has a very disturbing record” and that the former Kansas State Rifle Association president called Jerry Moran a “traitor.”
What’s the matter with Jerry Moran?!
Kansas is a red-redder-reddest state, yet Jerry Moran is willing to risk the United States Supreme Court rather than stand up to the few remaining Democrats. It’s alarming that Moran, a lawyer who’s been in Washington now for decades, so profoundly misunderstands his job to believe it is — and I quote — his “duty” to advance Barack Obama’s nominee.
The Senate Republicans overall deserve credit — so far anyway — for vowing to stop Obama from remaking the Court, but they’ve launched a horribly misguided execution. Under the auspices that Obama is a lame-duck and voters should have their say, the nomination process should be delayed until a new president is sworn in. Let’s count the ways this is misguided and will surely backfire:
There’s no constitutional basis for claiming that a president lacks the authority to be president in his last year.
Like it or not, the voters already did have their say in 2012 when they chose Obama, just as they had their say in 2014 when they gave Republicans the Senate in order to stop him.
Some Republicans are just as hypocritical as Democrats, just trading places of who’s for and who’s against lame-duck appointments. And in the future, they’ll surely flip-flop right back again. (This is why Americans hate politicians.)
If the next president, Republican or Democrat, nominates someone just as liberal as Merrick Garland, the Senate Republicans will have, in effect, already endorsed him and they will be politically powerless to stop any nominee, no matter how horrible.
There was — and still is — a much better approach: Make the Constitution, not politics, the center of this conversation.
Article II Section II establishes the “Advice and Consent” power of the Senate. As I suggested on day one, Senate Republicans should advise the president to nominate someone who has demonstrated strict fidelity to the Constitution and warn the president that failing to do so will result in a tireless fight against the nomination at every step in the process. This, in fact, is the sworn duty of each Senator.
In the current case, Obama’s nominee rejects the Second Amendment and therefore senators are duty-bound to deny their consent. There is no constitutional, legal or moral obligation for senators to waste time with hearings if, as in the case of Garland, it’s already established that the nominee is not faithful to the Constitution.
The Obama’s lame-duck status is inconsequential. To paraphrase: It’s the Constitution, stupid. This same principled approach should apply to every nominee whether the president is a Democrat or a Republican. No need for political hypocrisy. No need for ridiculous Washington politics. Instead simply demonstrate an unwavering commitment to our Constitution.
When the protesters scream “Do your job!”, the response is then obvious: I did do my job. I advised the president to nominate a constitutionalist and he refused so this nominee will not receive my consent. Period. I will not waste the Senate’s or America’s time on hearings to discover what we already know. End of story.
As for Jerry Moran, the backlash from betrayed Republicans has sent him into a tizzy. Poor Jerry can’t decide whom he fears more, the #NoHearingsNoVotes crowd or the #DoYourJob crowd.
After two decades in Washington, Jerry Moran is still scared of his own shadow. How else can you explain this Clintonesque DC double talk: “I am opposed to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee,” and so, “I think the [nomination] process ought to go forward.”
When the United States Supreme Court hangs in the balance, Republicans cannot count on Jerry Moran.