I can't figure out how this wasn't the biggest story of 2016:
Why did it get drowned out? Was OPERATION PRESIDENT-WAR-'16POCALYPSE that noisy? Regardless of the reasons, something distracted us from these facts:
-The United States Government has three branches.
-The Executive Branch (a.k.a. the cool branch) nominates new judges.
-Judicial nominees get approved or rejected by the Senate, which is part of the Legislative Branch (boring branch).
-Those two branches have to eventually agree on a judge, otherwise the Judicial Branch (robe-y branch) can't function.
In early 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia died. President Obama promptly nominated a replacement. And Senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to approve or reject the nomination. They claimed to be "following a long standing tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year." That is a "tradition" they made up. It's not a thing. They lied about it. Openly. So openly, our most distinguished Senators didn't even pretend to plan on fulfilling that "tradition" if the election results had two X chromosomes.
The word "distinguished" is nightmarishly flexible.
The Senate hijacked the Supreme Court. Permanently. And that is terrifying. It's so terrifying that Justice Clarence Thomas spoke out against it, and Clarence Thomas speaks as often as trees do. He told anyone who'd listen that "we have got to recognize that we're destroying our institutions." Yet Senators like Richard Burr made sabotaging our justice system a point of personal pride. Gosh darn that Richard Burr. Darn Richard Burr to heck.
Oh, right, no one knows who that is. This is United States Senator Richard Burr:
The state of North Carolina re-elected him this November. During his campaign, crowds applauded him for saying he'd obstruct any Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee. And with that power flowing through him, he started un-humblebragging: