This week U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) became the latest Republican to publicly state she will not vote for GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. Collins now joins Illinois’ Mark Kirk, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, and Nevada’s Dean Heller, who have all previously stated they would not support Trump’s candidacy..
Some are hailing these defections as acts of courage. Yet while Susan Collins talks about Trump’s “unsuitability for office,” she and her Republican colleagues, through their obstruction of Merrick Garland’s nomination, are also doing everything they can to ensure that if Trump does win the presidency, he’ll get to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.
Merrick Garland is a judge whose qualifications and fitness to serve on the Supreme Court are undoubted. With no grounds to block Garland on his record or competence, Republicans have instead resorted to making the argument that President Obama should not have made the appointment in the last year of his term. This argument is clearly grounded in partisan politics and in an attempt to let a Republican president-elect pick the nominee, and for the senators who have rejected Trump, the argument falls completely apart.
If Donald Trump is too dangerous to be President, he is too dangerous to put a judge on the Supreme Court. A statement by all of these Senators expressing their belief that the danger of a Donald Trump presidency necessitates immediate action by the Senate to confirm Garland would make an enormous impact on the process and highlight the dangerous political game being played by their Republican colleagues.
If Collins, Kirk, Sasse, Graham, and Heller fail to do everything in their power to move the Garland nomination through the Senate, their stand on Trump should not be viewed as an act of courage, but one of political expediency. They are attempting to separate themselves from the Trump campaign while refusing to take concrete action to stand against him in case he is elected.
It shouldn’t be considered courageous to stand up against a dangerous, extremist bigot if you refuse to use your power and authority to keep that that bigot from gaining and using power. These Republican Senators could act now to ensure we won’t have a Trump Justice on the Supreme Court. It’s a sign of their cowardice that they are refusing to do so.