One of Idaho’s two U.S. senators is a shameless partisan hack.
The other is a hypocrite.
Exhibit A: On March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Echoing the sentiments of his majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said:
“The Constitution gives the president the right to make nominations to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate. As part of its role in the process, the Senate may, at its discretion, withhold consent. The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that affect every American and shape our nation’s legal landscape for decades. Therefore, the current Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by an individual nominated by the next president of the United States.”
But now that President Donald Trump intends to name a conservative replacement for the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg less than six weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential election, Crapo’s view has — shall we say — evolved.
“There remains much uncertainty in this process and details will become clearer in the coming weeks,” he said. “As with previous Supreme Court vacancies, I will conduct due diligence and cast any votes with careful consideration according to the principles and values of Idahoans.”
In other words, says Politico, he’s voting.
Exhibit B. Upon Garland’s nomination, Risch was blunt. He wasn’t going to waste his time — and Garland’s — talking to any Democratic nominee unless he had to. In any event, he would vote against him.
“If I meet with him, I’m spinning my wheels and he’s spinning his wheels,” Risch told McClatchy. Only if the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the nomination — which never happened — would Risch give Garland enough of his time to “explain to him clearly and concisely why I will not vote for him.
“The U.S. Supreme Court is very, very political, just like Congress is, just like the president of the United States. People wring their hands and say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible, you shouldn’t bring politics into it.’ How do you not bring politics into it?”
It’s a Republican president making a conservative nomination to the court.
Same old Risch.
“I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of my office, and will weigh nominees to the Supreme Court based on their merits, not on whether there’s an election coming up,” Risch says. “Should a nominee come before the full Senate for consideration, I will weigh that individual based on their character, intellect, conservative record, and respect for the U.S. Constitution and vote accordingly.”
You saw the same pattern during Trump’s impeachment trial.
Risch downplayed Trump’s shakedown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden as “a typical conversation. ... I’ve been in lots and lots of these — I do them every day with foreign ministers or heads of state.”
Then he got caught taking a cat nap during part of the proceedings.
Finally he voted to acquit.
Crapo went through the motions.
The only sitting senator who voted every chance he could to remove President Bill Clinton from office, Crapo dutifully paid attention while consulting author Frank O. Bowman III’s 478-page “High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump.”
Then he twisted himself into a pretzel. Having concluded Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice “strike at the heart of the rule of law,” Crapo found Trump’s misbehavior fell “far short of the high threshold for removal of a U.S. president from office, and undermine Americans’ constitutional right to elect their president at the ballot box.”
Risch has been up front about his nature. You don’t have to like it, but it’s honest.
It was Crapo who wrapped himself in the camouflage of principle, precedent and even-handedness four years ago.
Now he has to explain why his word is not his bond. — M.T.