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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: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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