What About This? By Wayne William Cipriano

By Wayne William Cipriano

It seems like every day when you are waiting for an oil change, standing in line, or attending a “Daughters of the Armenian Revolution” meeting, you hear the word, “sophistry” being bandied about. I was wondering what that word meant, so I looked it up.

Sophistry- a deceptively subtle reasoning or argumentation.

And, once again, just like “hypocrisy”, which we have lately experienced because of the sad passing of the fabulous, R.B.G., another word has been introduced into our daily lexicon. 

Yes, I know, I am going to have to be a lot more specific as to exactly which sophistry has gained my attention. And so, I shall. 

I am thinking of the argument many federal legislators are using to justify their mind-numbing hypocrisy in terms of replacing Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

I’ll run over the high points: Replacing R.B.G. is different than seating Garland because, they said, the Executive branch (President Obama) and a majority of the Senate at that time were controlled by different political parties. Thus, they said, it would be wrong to elevate a new justice until the people of the United States of America had a chance, in the next election (nine months in the future) to use their federal ballots to arrange for an executive to be of the same party as the control of the Senate, thereby giving our blessing to such an elevation. It was, they said, what “the Constitution really wanted.” And that might have been what happened if one pays attention to the Electoral College vote and not the popular vote.

Yes, you are completely correct. Our Constitution does not even mention political parties, let alone make some twisted argument allowing the directions of the Constitution to be “put on hold for a short time” while waiting for one party or another to gain or regain a majority in the Senate and attain the presidency as well, no matter how long that may take. Nevertheless, the directions of the Constitution were ignored for nine months.

If you follow the reasoning, it seems to be saying that we, the people of the United States of America should be able to select a “new guy” for President, if we so wish, to make a Supreme Court appointment even if we have to wait nine months for a full court. Sort of a “real people’s selection” of a new justice.

OK. Let’s just leave that alone for a moment.

They are all slime- my slime, your slime, all slime, and our Constitution means nothing to any of them except as a way to enhance their individual political careers. Otherwise, all of them search out some way to thwart the Constitution’s strictures.

Now, less than twenty-seven days before the next Federal election where a president and one-third of the Senate will be chosen, an Administration and a Senate of the same party are moving heaven and earth to get a justice selected, vetted, interviewed, voted upon and confirmed before we, the people of the United States of America, have an opportunity to express our satisfaction (or dis-) with the present Executive and one-third of the Senate. Less than twenty-seven days from today.

After all, we have had almost four years of President Trump and six years of the Senators up for re-election to decide if we want any or all to continue in office. To continue, among other things, to elevate persons to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, or do we, perhaps, desire others to fill those positions and make those decisions? Something we may discover in just twenty-seven or so days. 

But, waiting nine months before the Constitution is followed is exactly the same as waiting twenty-seven days. It is wrong.

Sure, it works out well for some, but it is still wrong. The underlying idea seems to be that before, it was required that the people get a chance to make their wishes known, but now it is important to act before the people get a chance to make their wishes known.

Sophistry?

No matter which side, if any, you prefer, you have to agree that the withholding of President Obama’s candidate’s selection process and all this talk of interfering with President Trump’s candidate selection process are both antithetical to the spirit of the Constitution- or is it?

When we twist and stretch our Constitution to the point of disregarding it so as to secure some short-term (or long-term) political advantage, we are taking a great risk.

Our country is not everlasting. It can disappear as quickly and as easily as it arrived. And one way for that to happen is to just do what benefits us in the political short-run: pack the Supreme Court with extra justices when things are not going the way the majority party wants them to go; manipulate the rules or even the terms of the states that select them when one party holds the majorities; or, perhaps, for our “convenience”, for our “safety”, for our “own good”, for the “sanctity of our elective process”, our elections are “suspended for just a little while” giving us time to “get all this stuff straightened out”.

Of course, some things like that could never happen here. Maybe in some backward Banana Republic, somewhere, but never here. Because we have our Constitution, right?

Right?