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RBG’s Replacement

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After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Republicans claimed Obama did not have the right to appoint a replacement and this should be left to the next President.  The justified their view by asserting that because Scalia died in early February 2016 Obama had slightly less than one year left in office. Since the Republicans held the senate, they were able to refuse to hold hearings and President Trump filled the vacancy. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg died on 9/18/2020. President Trump immediately said he wanted the new judge sworn in “without delay” and Senator Mitch McConnel, who blocked Obama’s efforts to appoint a replacement for Scalia, said he would act on any nomination. The Democrats, in general, think that the replacement should be made by whoever wins the 2020 election. As would be expected, people are using the Republican arguments from 2016 against them. The Republicans are, obviously enough, not accepting their own arguments. Their failure to accept the arguments now that they made then does not prove that their arguments were bad then or good now. To think that because they reject the arguments now, the arguments were not good when they were made would be fall into the inconsistency ad hominem. One version of this fallacy occurs when it is concluded that a person is wrong now because what they claim now is inconsistent with what they claimed before. While inconsistent claims cannot both be true (though they can both be false) showing inconsistency does not show which claim is false. So, the Republicans could have been wrong then and right now. Or vice versa. But they cannot be right then and wrong now—unless there is a relevant difference that would justify the difference. The obvious “relevant” difference is that in 2016 delaying the nomination was advantageous to the Republicans while in 2020 it is advantageous to rush the nomination. While this provides a pragmatic difference, it is not a principled difference. While I have many. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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