Wednesday, March 24, 2021

PeaceAbility Is On The Move!


I have switched to a new domain and a new website.  Future posts can be found at

I am in the process of moving my blog posts from this site to the new one.  It will take a while, but I am getting there.  In the meantime, this page will continue for a while.  The new sight will have a few improvements that you may find interesting.  I am always open to suggestions, so please offer any advice you may have.

The mission and purpose of PeaceAbility remains the same.  I am hopeful that I can be more active with this change and expand this work.

Please visit https://www/ and sign up for notices of new activity.  If you have been "FOLLOWING" this page, your sign up will not automatically transfer to the new page.  You will need to do that again by scrolling down on the home page and entering your email in the appropriate box.

Thanks for your interest in matters of PEACE, SOCIAL JUSTICE, & DISABILITIES AWARENESS!  I hope to converse with you at my new location!

G. D. Gehr

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Challenging Uphill Climb Ahead


            It has been three weeks now since the shocking coup attempt of January 6, 2021.  Yes, I called it a coup.  It is nothing less than that.  Some prefer to call it a protest, a mob, an unruly crowd, a riot, and many other labels.  It was all of these, but much more.  We cannot escape the fact that on January 6, 2021, a huge group of angry people stormed the United States Capitol building while Congress was in session.  They violently forced their way into the building, destroying vast amounts of property, murdered a police officer, and threatened the lives of several members of Congress as well as the Vice President of the United States.  That, dear reader, is the textbook definition of a coup.

            There are so many disturbing elements to this horrific event.  Here are just a few.


1.      The Violence of the Mob.
This mob was determined to use violence from the very beginning.  A vast number of them showed up in military fatigues, bullet proof vests, and with various weapons.  Make no mistake about it, this was organized as an armed attack.
Violence is never justified, and especially on the grounds of the United States Capitol building.  The Congress is an institution that debates issues in order to make informed decisions for the purpose of passing laws.  Disagreements are inherent in such a process.  Violence, however, is not.  No one, other than authorized law enforcement officers, should be allowed to even carry a gun of any kind onto the Capitol grounds.  That goes for the legislators themselves.  And it certainly applies to citizens who are not members of Congress.  Let me be clear, the violence that took place on that day was abhorrent, wrong, and illegal.  It must be condemned.

2.      The False Claim of Patriotism.
The people who attacked the Capitol claimed to be patriots.  They claimed they were doing their civic duty to protect the integrity of the 2020 election.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Such a claim is a lie, through and through.

a.       Patriots do not desecrate the American flag, but these goons did.

b.      Patriots do not proudly, defiantly carry or even display the flag of the Confederate States of America, but these goons did.  That flag represents a foreign nation that had declared war on the United States and sought to destroy our country, rather than protect it.  That flag supports slavery and oppression.  That flag is a symbol of hate, rebellion, insurrection, and violence.  Under the banner of that flag 1.5 million casualties were amassed, including 360,000 Union soldiers dead, and 260,000 Confederate soldiers dead.   It has no place in The United States.

c.       Patriots do not break the law, but these goons did.

d.      Patriots do not seek to assassinate their elected officials, but these goons did.

e.       Patriots do not destroy Federal property, but these goons did.

f.        Patriots do not kill law enforcement officers, but these goons did.

g.       Patriots do not willingly, intentionally, arrogantly violate the Constitution of the United States, but guess what?  These goons did.

h.      There was nothing patriotic about what that angry mob did on January 6.

3.      The Endless Lies. 
The abundance of lies and conspiracy theories relentlessly promoted by Donald Trump and his allies clearly was the foundation of the attack.  Without these false claims that have no basis in reality January 6, 2021 would just have been another ho-hum, boring day.  These lies include:

a.       The election was rigged;

b.      The election was stolen;

c.       Some states illegally destroyed ballots cast for Trump;

d.      Some states illegally accepted invalid ballots;

e.       There was widespread evidence of voter fraud;

f.        Many people cast ballots for dead relatives or for pets;

g.       Many Democrats voted more than once;

h.      Poll observers were turned away and not permitted to do their job to ensure integrity;

i.        In some states electronic voting machines deliberately took votes for Trump and turned them into votes for Biden – I never understood why the voting machines, made by the same company, only malfunctioned in a few select states.  Hmm;

j.        And the list goes on and on!  Not a one of these outlandish claims is true.
It is a sad and disturbing phenomenon.  These lies and others like them fueled the attack on January 6.  Consider this:  were ballots cast in the name of dead people?  Yes, in one instance, at least.  That occurred in Pennsylvania, where a man did in fact cast a ballot in the name of his deceased mother.  Ironically, that ballot was cast FOR DONALD TRUMP!  Clearly such instances had no effect on the outcome of the election.

k.      That morning, in preparation for the attack, numerous Republican leaders stoked the emotions and the insanity of the crowd by propagating these same lies over and over again.  Speakers promoting these lies and the heightened atmosphere included Roger Stone, Julio Gonzalez, Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), John Eastman, Amy Kremer, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and, of course, President Donald Trump.
It is important to stress that all these speakers told excessive lies and each bears responsibility for the violence and the chaos that followed.  Go back and read the transcripts of what these people said.  They can easily be found online. 

l.        Add to that what was said in the days leading up to January 6.  Trump personally invited – actually, ordered – his followers to come to Washington D.C. on January 6.

                                                               i.      Dec.  18: We won the Presidential Election, by a lot. FIGHT FOR IT. Don’t
let them take it away!"

                                                            ii.       December 12:  “We have just begun to fight!”

                                                          iii.      December 18: “Big protest in D.C. January 6; be there; be wild!”

                                                           iv.      January 4:  "If the liberal Democrats take the Senate and the White House — and they’re not taking this White House — we’re going to fight like hell, I’ll tell you right now." 

4.       Racism is Still At the Heart of This Tension.

a.      The voting districts in which Trump was seeking to overturn results included Detroit, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Atlanta, Georgia; and Savanah, Georgia.  Every one of these districts is overwhelming Black.  Simply stated, Trump and his allies wanted to reject the Black vote.

b.      Regarding the thousands of people who attacked the Capitol, I have studied numerous photographs but failed to find anyone who was clearly Black.  There may have been one or possibly two persons who could have been Latino – it was hard to tell with the winter coats and mittens – but it is certain that 99% of the rioters were white.  This was obviously a white supremacist movement.  The Confederate flags are a dead giveaway.

5.      The Depth of The Insurrection

Clearly this involves more than Donald Trump.  It falls on Trump because he held the highest office in the country.  He is ultimately responsible.  But he certainly is not alone.  The list of co-conspirators is long.

a.      Rudy Giuliani.  Rudy, a complete disgrace, ordered the mob of insurrectionists to “have a trial by combat”.  But that is only the culmination of his guilt.  He competed with his buddy Trump in telling the most lies about the election process and results.  Time and again, Rudy promoted debunked conspiracy theories and outright lies.  He repeatedly went to court to overturn the election and/or unseat electors.  He failed every time.  In my opinion, he should not only be disbarred, he should also be sent to jail.

b.      Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  His lies and efforts to overturn the election results are well documented.  His attempt to interfere with the election process in Pennsylvania was clearly unconstitutional.  And even after the coup attempt, he still voted to reject the duly elected electors from Pennsylvania.  On the floor of the Senate on January 6, Cruz highlighted the Compromise of 1877 which effectively ended Reconstruction and solidified institutional racism in the former Confederate States.  For more on this, visit Ted Cruz tried to defend Trump's coup. He then praised the white supremacist Compromise of 1877 |

c.       Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO).  Hawley inspired the rebels with his inflammatory rhetoric, his raised fist in solidarity, and his constant lies.  Another promoter of false conspiracy theories, Hawley is a proven insurrectionist.

d.      Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).  Like Hawley, Johnson unashamedly identifies himself as a co-conspirator.  The editors of Wisconsin’s newspaper the Capital Times says of Wisconsin’s senior Senator “Johnson was, and is, the steadiest proponent of the lies and conspiracy theories that animated the fascist mob that attacked the Capitol. Unlike Hawley and Cruz, Johnson went so far as to use the committee he chaired in the last Senate to amplify the unfounded charges of election fraud that were at the center of Trump’s call for overturning the election results.

e.       Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).  Brooks consistently stoked the flames of insurrection, including his fiery speech to the mob of rebels just hours before the coup.

There are others that could be included in this list, to be sure, but these are the leading figures.  They should all be charged and held accountable.

6.      Beyond the Comments and Actions Leading up to the Attack, There Remains Trump’s Behavior During the Attack.

a.      Rather than sending the National Guard or other law enforcement to support the Capitol Police and protect the members of Congress, Trump was paralyzed.  He did nothing.  He refused to send help.  In fact, he praised the traitors as “patriots”.

b.      Reports indicate that Trump, with his family, was watching the coup as it unfolded and was pleased with the destructive behavior.

c.       As the coup was ending, Trump released this statement: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”   Even at that critical point he continued to push the lie that he had won the election, in a “sacred landslide”, no less!  He went on to say “We love you!”, even after the vast destruction they caused.

d.      Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland tried to send his State’s National Guard to D.C. in support of the Capitol Police, but the Trump Administration blocked his efforts by denying authorization.  Again, it would have only taken a single phone call from the President to make this possible.  As I understood it, he never did issue authorization.  It fell on Vice President Mike Pence to get the job done.

e.       During the coup, Donald Trump never once contacted his Vice President or any person whose life was in danger to see if they were safe.  This is yet another example of how Trump violated his oath of office and abandoned his responsibility.


Even if you feel that Trump’s words were not directly responsible for the violence , deaths and destruction that followed on the afternoon of January 6, 2021, Number 6 above is undeniable.  His inability to act during the attack is clearly the greatest dereliction of duty in American history.  This, in and of itself, is more than sufficient to convict him of Impeachment.


The Republican Party did summersaults over Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Steele dossier.  They manifested every conceivable political contortion in a failed attempt to discredit Mrs. Clinton.  In the light of the events on January 6 of this year, it is outrageous to think how the Republicans responded now.  139 Representatives and eight Senators still voted to reject the election results.  197 GOP Members of the House voted against Trump’s second impeachment.  45 out of 50 GOP Senators voted in favor of declaring Trump’s second impeachment unconstitutional.  It boggles the mind.


All I can say is this:  In the past four years – and especially in the past four weeks – The Republican Party has embodied everything that is wrong with American politics.  I do not know where this country is headed, but one thing is certain.  We have a most challenging uphill climb ahead of us.

G. D. Gehr

January 29, 2021

respectful comments welcome

Monday, October 12, 2020

Coronavirus and Houses of Worship

         I am having a difficult time understanding the Christian community as it responds to the Coronavirus pandemic we are currently struggling with. 

I know of several congregations near me who are worshiping in-person with little or no regard for guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  This includes five congregations within my denomination, the Church of the Brethren (CoB), located within five miles of my house.  I do not get it.

Of these five Brethren congregations, I know that four of them are conducting services with very minimal safeguards in place.  I do not have information on the fifth congregation.  None of the four I know of require face masks in worship, and from what I have seen by watching their online videos very few worshipers, if any, choose to wear a mask.  They all engage in congregational singing.  And while social distancing is encouraged it does not appear to be practiced very carefully.

One pastor I know announces at the beginning of his service that people should feel free to remove their masks.  At least one congregation has placed a limit on how many people are permitted to worship together in their various services.  Beyond this, however, it is not clear as to what these churches require.  Knowing this, I have to wonder how much attention is given to safety precautions such as sanitizing the restrooms, pews, doors and handrails; making sure an adequate supply of hand sanitizer is readily available and visible; restrictions on physical contact; and a host of other things.

Many pastors and church leaders have argued that officially, the State of Pennsylvania has declared that house of worship are “essential” and are not subject to the COVID-19 restrictions that are in place for businesses and work places.  To a degree this is true.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has respected the faith communities and has refrained from sounding like they were demanding compliance.  Nevertheless, the PA Department of Health has made their expectations quite clear, even for the faith community.  And those expectations are a bit more restrictive than some pastors are willing to admit.  The most significant points are listed here.

·         Face masks must be worn even in houses of worship

·         Social distancing is also required, meaning at least six feet distance is to be maintained between persons not living together in the same household.

Likewise, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a detailed document entitled Considerations For Communities of Faith.  This begins with the admonition to know and follow the State guidelines.  The CDC admits that it is not able to require faith communities to comply with their restrictions, but it does appeal to the observance of respect for others and the sense of community responsibility.  A few of their guidelines worth noting are offered here.

·         Encourage the use of face masks for all attendees except those under the age of two.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched places and shared objects between all events.  This includes disinfecting between multiple services on the same day.

·         Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation as much as possible.

I would now ask that you allow me to address those congregations that are a part of the Church of the Brethren, since that is my affiliation.  I suspect most other denominations have similar guidance for their membership partners.  Even non-denominational congregations would do well to research what neighboring churches are following.  But again, here is a portion of what my denomination is asking of their congregations.

·         Limit or remove furniture in common areas to discourage gathering.

·         Prop main doors to restrooms open when possible (to avoid touching handles) if there are individual stalls.

·         Close outdoor playgrounds and furnishings.

·         In parking lot: Encourage members to park in every other parking space. Consider using a parking attendant.

·         In the worship area: Block off every other row using tape or rope.

·         Exiting the worship service: Ushers should dismiss each row, preferably from back to front. Members should go directly out of the building and not gather inside the building.

·         Singing: Suspend choirs and congregational singing.  (singing intensifies the discharge of droplets, thus increasing the potential spread of the virus).

·         Face Masks should be required. Provide masks for those who do not bring their own. Lovingly turn away those unwilling to wear a mask.

·         Avoid handheld printed material such as hymnals, bulletins, and hand-outs.

·         Keep a record of who attends. This will allow contacting them in the case that an attendee develops COVID-19.

·         Do not offer onsite children’s ministries since social distancing will be difficult. Keeping children socially distanced is harder to do than with adults. Therefore, it is best to delay re-opening children’s ministries.

There are more items listed under each of the sources shown above, including much overlapping.  At the end of this article I will list the websites where more detailed information can be found.

            I believe it behooves us to practice extra caution during this pandemic.  As people of faith we are to obey the governing authorities, as long as the authorities do not demand an act that is specifically in violation of God’s command.  Romans 13:1-2 instructs us:   “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves”.

We are also to display compassion and care for our fellow believers and our non-believing neighbors and friends.  Galatians 6:1 says,  “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Along this line of reasoning, I am impressed with Paul’s instructions to the Christians at Corinth, where some members felt they were justified to do as they pleased regardless of the feelings of others.  In a loving and gentle way, Paul reminded them of their responsibility to others.  This is addressed in an effective manner in I Corinthians 10, beginning with verse 23.    "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. 24  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”  Paul goes on to urge tolerance and respect for people with differing opinions, and to sacrifice one’s own freedom in the interest of another’s concerns.

            There are many other passages of scripture that could be quoted to support the understanding that we should put the thoughts, wishes, and well-being of others before our own desires or freedom.

Therefore, I am puzzled to understand why Christians should pay such little regard to the health and safety of others by ignoring these important guidelines.  It simply makes no sense to me.  Our response to the coronavirus pandemic should not be a political statement, though I fear that is what it has become.  God calls us to act with compassion, care, and concern for others.  Even if you feel you are immune to COVID-19, or perhaps you do not believe the data, there is no excuse for such reckless behavior that others believe to be dangerous.  “Bear one another’s burdens!”

Some, including many pastors, act as if their place of worship is somehow a COVID-19-Free Zone.  Their approach suggests that State and Federal restrictions may be tolerated outside of worship, but the church building somehow is impenetrable by the pandemic.  I already addressed this attitude in an earlier post entitled “The Cross Is Not A Hex Sign” ( see the Peace-Ability blog dated June 21, 2020).

I urge all my brothers and sisters in Christ to give careful thought to these things.  Put the politics aside.  Know what is required and suggested by the governing authorities and commit yourself and your congregation to the health and well being of all.  Realize that everyone who comes to worship with you has had numerous contacts before they walked through your doors and will continue to have many contacts after they leave.  Why not be considerate and take extra precaution?  I believe it is the Christ-like thing to do.

For further information please visit these sites.

1.      Pennsylvania Department of Health: 




2.      Center For Disease Control: Considerations for Communities of Faith:

3.      Church of the Brethren Pandemic Response:


Stay Healthy!

G. D. Gehr

October 11, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

Making Up The Rules As The Game Unfolds

             The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a huge blow to this country.  I say this, not because of her liberal-leaning rulings, but her outstanding character and personality.  Ginsburg was a brilliant, dedicated legal mind who fought ceaselessly for the rights of all individuals.  She was a pioneer in her field, a person who broke barriers and challenged injustice wherever it may be found.  Yet she always maintained a sense of decency, respect and cooperation for those who disagreed with her.  What a loss her death represents.

            Not surprisingly, the opening created on the Supreme Court is now the hottest topic in the nation.  Conservatives see this as a coveted opportunity to influence the Court in their favor, sensing a 6-3 majority that would almost certainly survive the possibility of one Justice going rogue over an issue.  Liberals, on the other hand, have felt for some time that they are on the verge of becoming voiceless.  Because the divide to this point has been 5-4 in favor of the conservatives, those on the “Left” have survived as best they could by relying on a “swing vote” from one of the more moderate Conservatives.

            It is a shame that judges, and especially Supreme Court Justices, are perceived to be conservative, liberal, or moderate.  I would prefer that we could toss those labels out with the trash.  But that will not happen in this polarized, tension-filled world we live in.

            I find myself extremely frustrated with our political system these days.  There is so much in need of overhaul.  The Supreme Court is yet another example.  Justice is to be blind.  It is to see only right and wrong, holding to the letter of the law, and casting decisions based on facts and evidence.  SCOTUS is to protect us from the excesses of politics and the bitterness of partisanship.  Such goals, however, are increasingly fading.

            With this in mind, we need to look at how justices are selected.  We all know the Constitutional protocol:  the President nominates a candidate; the Senate provides “advise and consent” by first holding a hearing on the candidate, then making a preliminary decision by the Judicial Committee, and then a full Senate vote.  This is not a perfect system, but I suppose it is as good as we will get.  Except, it doesn’t work that way.

            The most glaring example of abuse was in 2016.  Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly on February 13, 2016.  President Barak Obama dutifully named a candidate after careful consideration.  Merrick Garland, a moderate who built a reputation of being fair and respectful, while managing to be void of political partisanship, was a perfect choice.  He should have been acceptable to a huge majority of the Senators.  I would go so far as to say Merrick Garland was an ideal choice who represents all that a good judge should be.

            Sadly, Garland did not stand a chance.  Because of the insane, democracy-denying rules of the U. S. Senate, such decisions are not made by the full Senate.  Rather, the Senate is run like a dictatorship.  The Senate Majority Leader, regardless of which party he or she belongs to, rules over the Senate with an iron fist.  This person can singlehandedly decide to kill any vote, any consideration, any resolution – in short, ANYTHING – he or she desires.  Nothing can come before the Senate without the consent of the Majority Leader.  As a case in point, the House of Representatives passed approximately 400 bills in the current session that have been sent to the Senate.  This includes the Heroes Act, a package intended to provide financial relief to families and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.  All of these bills, including the Heroes Act, have died in the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  One man has decided he does not like them and so he refuses to allow them to come up for a vote.  This is not democracy.  This is a despot who unilaterally decides everything.  Its not just McConnell.  All of his predecessors, including Democrats Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, held the same power.  This is a terrible injustice.

            I feel that McConnell was totally out of line in 2016 when he, and he alone, decided that he was above the Constitution and the President by refusing Merrick Garland from ever getting a hearing.  I said then that the Senate’s role is to “advise and consent”.  It is not to nominate.  But that is what Mitch McConnel did.  He assumed the power and authority of the Presidency by deciding that he did not like Garland and thus killed the process.  What Mitch McConnell did should be illegal.  It certainly was unethical.  But there is no one to hold him accountable. 

            The argument put forth from McConnell and every other Republican Senator was weak and inaccurate.  He claimed that it was the right of the people to weigh in through the election process.  In McConnell’s warped mind, if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs in the last year of a President’s term, the President has no right to nominate anyone.  It would be proper to wait until after the upcoming election to let the voters decide if they want a Republican or a Democratic President to nominate justices.  That person, then would have three years to nominate a replacement.  Of course, one could argue that the issue was already settled in 2012, when Barack Obama was reelected.  But that would not solve McConnell’s objective.

            Let us be perfectly clear:  The Constitution does not say anything that remotely sounds like this.  To follow the Constitution to the letter, the President must nominate, and the Senate must weigh in through a vote.  That’s it.  I felt at the time that President Obama was correct in making a nomination and the Senate was obligated to vote on it.

            Now, four and a half years later, Justice Ginsburg has died and another opening has arisen.  In keeping with the argument above, I would feel that President Trump has the right to nominate a replacement, and the Senate must consider it.  Except for one thing.  Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules in 2016.  A democracy, even with all of its flaws, must function in an orderly and consistent manner.  I think the Senate rules stink, but rules are rules.  Because McConnell is committed to the principle that a President should not make a nomination to the Supreme Court in the last year of his current term, therefore Trump cannot make a nomination.  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

            Now, Mitch, being Mitch, cannot live with consistency.  He routinely makes up new rules to meet his agenda whenever necessary.  So, Mitch enthusiastically welcomed Trump’s nomination and committed himself to pushing it through with all haste.  The problem here is that McConnell has already gone on the record saying no President should nominate a Supreme Court Justice during the last year of their term in office.  But now, McConnell is doing his McConnell thing and creating yet another new rule.  This one says that the previous McConnel doctrine only applies when the White House is controlled by one party and the Senate is controlled by the other party.  Once again, there is nothing in the Constitution to even hint of this.  But McConnell never claims to work according to the Constitution.  A new rule for a new scenario.  It is interesting that he did not use this argument in 2016.  But again, he did not have to, because he is not answerable to anyone.  Anything that will promote the Will of Mitch is acceptable.

            As expected, all the little Republican Senators who mindlessly follow The Mighty Mitch nod their heads in agreement like a bunch of bobblehead dolls.  Those who were in the Senate in 2016 approved of Mighty Mitch’s man-made rules then, and obediently approve of his newest rule now.  Like little robots they all claim this is the way it has always been.  But they are wrong!

            Admittedly, what we have here in 2020 is an unusual case.  The death of a Supreme Court Justice so close to an election is a rare thing.  It is not unique, though.  To do a full investigation one needs to go back to the beginning of the Republican Party.

            The year was 1864.  Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States.  Lincoln was the first Republican President in the history of the country.  In fact, the Republican Party was only10 years old, forming in 1856 in opposition to slavery.  The Election of 1864 was approaching, and the Civil War was winding down.  Then something happened that must have rocked the country.  Roger Taney, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, died with a mere 27 days remaining before the election.  It should be noted that Lincoln was a Republican President, and the Senate was clearly controlled by the Republicans with a 37-9 super majority.  Think about this:  the same Party controlled both the White House and the Senate when Taney’s death created a vacancy on the Supreme Court just 27 days before the election.  The only difference between then and now is 18 days.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg died 45 days before the election, instead of 27.  However, unlike 1864, the election is already underway today.  Early voting is taking place.  Ballots are being cast.

            The fascinating thing is that Lincoln decided not to nominate a replacement for Taney until after the election.  I do not know why he made this decision, but he did.  So here we have a prominent precedent:  A Republican President, with a Republican Senate, refusing to nominate a replacement for the Supreme Court vacancy that arose within 27days of a Presidential election.  I am sure Mitch McConnell is aware of this.  In fact, McConnell fabricates his own sense of history whenever it is convenient for him.  Consider this portion of research from the Brookings Institute in response to The Mighty Mitch’s 2016 claim supporting his decision to deny President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, when the Majority Leader said, “All we are doing is following the long-standing tradition of not fulfilling a nomination in the middle of a presidential year.”  Hey, Mitch, what “long-standing tradition” are you referring to?


“There is no such tradition. The table shows the nine Supreme Court vacancies in place during election years in the Court’s post-Civil War era—once Congress stabilized the Court’s membership at nine and the justices largely stopped serving as trial judges in the old circuit courts. Those nine election-year vacancies (out of over 70 in the period) were all filled in the election year—one by a 1956 uncontested recess appointment and eight by Senate confirmation.”




Nominee and Nomination Date

Conf. date


Unified or Divided

Party Control of WH

and Senate




Lamar (12/6/1887)



D (39-37)




Fuller (4/30/1888)



D (39-37)




Shiras (7/19/1992)



U (47-39-2)




Pitney (2/19/1912)



U (52-44)

Lamar, J.



Brandeis (1/28/1916)



U (56-40)




Clarke (7/14/1916)



U (56-40)




Cardozo (2/15/1932)



U (48-47-1)




Brennan (10/15/1956, recess appointment)

D (48-47-1)


Fortas (6/26/1968)


U (64-36)


Thornberry (same)






Bork (7/7/1987, failed)


D (55-45)

Kennedy (11/30/1987)







Garland (3/16/2016)


D (54-44)




U (53-47)

* No actual vacancies. Incumbents hinged their vacancy creation on their successors’ confirmations.
** Hughes became a presidential candidate.




One has to wonder what tradition McConnell was referring to in 2016.  Obviously, he was making things up to benefit his agenda, as always.  Of course, it is not just McConnell.  Lindsey Graham is just as bad, if not worse.  Graham said in 2016 that he did not care if a Republican or a Democrat held the office of President, it would be wrong for that person to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of his term of office.  Graham went so far as to say people can use his words against him if he ever violated that principle.  But now, as Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee, Graham has vowed he will push any nomination through as soon as possible.  OK, Mr. Chairman, we will use your words against you!  Oh, by the way, Graham and McConnell are both up for reelection this year!

G. D. Gehr