As Democrats heard from gun violence survivors, the senator insisted they should prioritize Brett Kavanaugh’s safety instead.
When it comes to divergent legislative priorities, look no further than the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol Building today. On one side, the Democratic-chaired House Oversight Committee heard hours of anguished testimony from survivors of — and experts on — America’s gun violence epidemic, as part of a broader push for new gun control measures in the wake of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, last month. Then cast your gaze to the vaulted upper chamber of Congress, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this morning threw a monotone hissy fit after the overnight arrest of an armed man outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home, in which the suspect reportedly claimed he wanted to murder the judge over the looming repeal of Roe v. Wade.
“House Democrats must pass this bill [for increased protections for Supreme Court justices] and they need to do it today. No more fiddling around with this, they need to pass it today,” McConnell demanded during his floor speech. “Pass it before the sun sets today.”
Keep in mind here that McConnell’s grandstanding ultimatum comes not only after SCOTUS justices were already granted bolstered security following last month’s leaked draft opinion on the impending Roe repeal, but it’s also in response to a resoundingly successful response from the existing security already in place at Kavanaugh’s home. It’s like when conservatives gnash their teeth because U.S. border officials stopped a major drug shipment from entering the country. What are you so mad about? The system worked!
While McConnell is technically correct that House Democrats have yet to take up a Senate-passed bill to expand security for the justices, his oratory tantrum is a clear sign that to him, the number one pressing issue in this country right now is adding even more security for a single-digit cohort of immeasurably powerful adjudicators — all because, as he opined, “this is exactly, exactly the kind of event that many feared that the terrible breach of the Court’s rules and norms could fuel.” Oh no, not the rules and norms!
House Democrats, meanwhile, have chosen to spend their day prioritizing an unfathomably painful exercise in hearing about — and sharing with the public — the catastrophic effects of gun violence, in the hopes of preventing the future murders of children in their classrooms. A pressing need, it’s worth noting, that wasn’t prevented by the existing system, unlike the arrest of Kavanaugh’s would-be-attacker, and which McConnell himself has spent decades running interference against.
That, in a microcosm, is where things in Congress stand: McConnell and his ilk are hyper-focused on bolstering an already-successful program for the benefit of just nine people, while House Democrats are working on addressing a crisis impacting millions. Priorities, people!