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Mitt Romney should take his own advice

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) signaled in a statement that he's on board with an election year confirmation for a Supreme Court nominee, saying that if a nominee reaches the Senate floor then he will vote "based upon their qualifications."

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 10:31 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 10:31 PM

"Integrity," goes the famous quote attributed to C.S. Lewis, "is what you do when no one is watching." I'll add to it: Integrity is when you do the right thing even if it's against your own self-interest.

Sen. Mitt Romney has failed both tests.

This week, Romney said he would support a floor vote to confirm a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just weeks before a presidential election. He did this despite Senate Republicans' avowals that preventing President Barack Obama from filling the seat left vacant after Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016 was justified in an election year. Even though the election was many months away when Scalia passed in February, they said the voters should get to decide.

Fast forward to the power-grabbing hypocrisy of 2020 and it's easy to see why Democrats are outraged -- and why all Americans should be as well.

Just two Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski -- have said they will honor their previous commitments to not confirm a new Supreme Court justice when an election is looming. And Romney? He has said he is willing to vote. And this is despite McConnell's cynical precedent. If Romney approves of Trump's pick, that person will surely get a seat on the bench. "My liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court, but that's not written in the stars," Romney said, adding that it is "appropriate for a nation that is ... center-right to have a court which reflects center-right points of view."

Putting aside the factual errors -- the current Supreme Court is actually much more conservative than liberal, and that there is plenty of evidence that the United States is not a center-right nation -- the question isn't whether it is "appropriate" for the court to lean more left or more right. The question is what a fair, democratic process looks like. What Senate Republicans are pushing isn't fair or democratic; it's seat-stealing. And it's disappointing, if not unsurprising, to see Romney join right in.

In the Trump era of unfettered greed, democratic norm-destruction, ethical destitution, and wannabe-autocracy, Romney has positioned himself as a better sort of Republican. He was the only member of his party to vote to convict the President after Trump's impeachment trial early this year. He compared the President to an autocrat, back then, and in branding himself a man of character and integrity, he quoted a line from a hymn: "Do what is right; let the consequence follow."

He should take his own advice.

Doing what's right is often difficult. Romney is a conservative, and there is no doubt that he wants a conservative justice in Ginsburg's seat. The consequences would of course be vast: Ginsburg's own legacy would likely be undone; reproductive rights, including contraception access, would almost surely be threatened and even walked back, and abortion could wind up outlawed in some states entirely; even progressive electoral victories would be defanged, as a right-wing court could handily undo liberal policies (the Affordable Care Act, hardly the left-wing dream of universal health care, for example, could be on the chopping block).

This is apparently what Romney wants. He's never suggested otherwise.

But he did suggest, in the February vote, that even as he was aligned with the conservative agenda, the means to achieving it were as important as the ends -- that democratic processes were too cherished to be traded away in favor of conservative outcomes. It appears this particular prize is simply too big for Romney to maintain his principles.

Perhaps Romney has put away his hymnal for now. If he's looking for some new inspiration, he might want to revisit what former First Lady Michelle Obama said at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when Romney was competing against her husband for the presidency.

Through family, she said, "We learned about honesty and integrity -- that the truth matters. That you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules. And success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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