why congressional approval is so low

One of the things that drives me crazy is dishonesty. Ask my sons…

Sarcastic? OK, sometimes that’s funny.

Exaggerate? Well, that can make a good story a great one.

But lie? That’s wrong. 

And not only is it wrong, it’s incredibly unattractive and a clear extinguisher of respect. Hence, as one who coaches, encourages, and builds wise, effective leadership, I am often deeply disappointed when I see leaders manipulate with mistruth. 

As written here several years ago, the Intramuralist thought it was ill-advised, partisan governance when then Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold even a hearing for Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Even though the vacancy was created by the death of the honorable Justice Antonin Scalia in February, McConnell said that Americans had a “unique opportunity” by aligning the court fulfillment with voting for a new president, “as they decide who they trust to both lead the country and nominate the next Supreme Court justice.”

Right. Call it sarcasm or exaggeration if you wish. The bottom line is that McConnell was manipulating with mistruth. There were almost nine months between the Court vacancy and the election. Clearly, he was politicizing the issue. He wanted opportunity for a potentially conservative President to nominate a potentially more conservative nominee.

This week took another dishonest turn. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Ed Markey among others introduced legislation to add four justices to the Supreme Court. Said Nadler, “Nine justices may have made sense in the nineteenth century when there were only nine circuits, and many of our most important federal laws — covering everything from civil rights to antitrust, the Internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration, and white-collar crime — simply did not exist, and did not require adjudication by the Supreme Court. But the logic behind having only nine justices is much weaker today when there are 13 circuits. Thirteen justices for thirteen circuits is a sensible progression…”

Again, right. Call it sarcasm or exaggeration if you wish. The bottom line is Nadler is manipulating with mistruth. Clearly, he is politicizing the issue. He wants opportunity for a liberal President to nominate four potentially liberal nominees in order to change the perceived ideological balance of the Court.

Pack. Expand. Pack. Expand… Congress has currently decided to wrestle with this issue. Hear from others within the party on the inherent wisdom of such…

“I have heard that there are some people on the Democratic side who would like to increase the number of judges. I think that was a bad idea when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack the court… If anything would make the court appear partisan it would be that. One side saying when we’re in power we’re going to enlarge the number of judges so we’ll have more people who will vote the way we want them to. So I am not at all in favor of that solution to what I see as a temporary situation.”Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2019

“It is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution. And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians. Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust.”Justice Stephen Breyer, 2021

“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court. It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law. He was legalistically, absolutely correct. But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body — including the Congress included in my view — in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”Sen. Joe Biden, 1983

No doubt there’s a reason respect for Congress is so low. Said Statista Research Dept. expert Erin Duffin 3 weeks ago, “Congressional approval, particularly over the past few years, has not been high. Americans tend to see Congress as a group of ineffectual politicians who are out of touch with their constituents.”

Ineffectual. Out of touch. With neither party possessing even a 51% majority in either legislative body, each party seems unable to resist the temptation to seize more power. Their power grabs are unattractive and a clear extinguisher of respect. With such a split population, neither party has a partisan mandate. 

They do have a mandate to be honest. At least we wish they did.