A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jeff Hoover: Mitch McConnell cements legacy with Supreme Court confirmations; bold action prevailed

It wasn’t long ago in our nation that boxing was one of the preeminent sports. Like almost everyone near my age, I grew up watching some of the greats like George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Larry Holmes. Of course, none was greater than Kentucky’s own Muhammad Ali.
 
For nearly 20 years, Ali was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He took on fighters younger and older than him, bigger and faster.  What was most impressive to me was that Ali adapted his style for each.  And nearly every time, no matter who he fought, no matter what the pundits predicted, he won.
 
Much like Muhammad Ali, it was evident this past week that Kentucky has another such champion, this time in the political arena. I do not think I have ever been prouder of my friend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as I was during the confirmation process of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Jeff Hoover

As Justice Kavanaugh came under attack from the radical left, Leader McConnell stood firm and, while being fair and responsive to the nation, continued to move the process forward and kept it as orderly as possible.  In the end, his steady hand ensured that a respected jurist was confirmed to the highest court in the land.
 
Now in his sixth term, Leader McConnell has established a legacy that few others can match. As the longest serving Senator from Kentucky in this history of our nation, Leader McConnell has been able to attain a level of influence that has benefited our Commonwealth greatly. You would be hard pressed to visit any county in our state that cannot immediately point to a project with which Leader McConnell has helped.
 
While he is our Senator, we now share Leader McConnell with the entire nation. With his leadership position, he now has the power and influence to affect policy nationwide, and even worldwide. 

Yet, his greatest legacy may have developed over the course of the past two years with his leadership during Supreme Court vacancies.
 
By taking a bold stance during 2016 to not confirm a new member of the Court until after the presidential race, Leader McConnell took much criticism from the left, never mind this was a tactic argued for by former Vice-President Joe Biden when he was in the Senate. He then shepherded the nominations of both Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two extremely qualified jurists.
 
This is indeed Leader McConnell’s shining moment, in the fact that his actions have likely impacted the direction of the Supreme Court for decades and generations to come.

Mitch McConnell (Photo by Reuters)

Most impressive is that, also like Muhammad Ali, many had predicted Leader McConnell’s demise prematurely. It was just a short four years ago that some lined up from the radical fringes of both the right and left in an attempt to take him out. Now in 2018, we all recognize that both of his previously failed opponents, Matt Bevin and Alison Grimes, have their electability to any office in serious jeopardy, while Leader McConnell is basking in a popularity among GOP circles that few persons outside of presidents have ever known.
 
Make no mistake, though, Leader McConnell’s actions were not taken just for the simple sake of winning. While judges are to attempt to put ideological beliefs aside when hearing cases, human nature prevents that from ever happening fully. With the recent confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, the Court now has a 5-4 conservative slant, with two of the more liberal members being in their 80s.  With Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh being the two youngest members of the Court, it’s highly possible they could serve 30+ years. For those like Leader McConnell, myself and the vast majority of Kentuckians, who believe in a conservative government and that activist judges are a threat to our system of checks and balances, this is cause to celebrate!
 
As we enter the Congressional midterm elections, with the likelihood that Republicans will retain a majority in the U.S. Senate, I am proud that Leader McConnell will continue to provide a steady hand in Washington. In such tumultuous times, it is comforting to know that his soft-spoken, but firm leadership style will help us move forward.
 
Much like Muhammad Ali, Leader McConnell has learned how to take a punch or two . . . and he just keeps on winning.
 
Rep. Jeff Hoover is the former Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. He represents the 83rd House District, which includes Clinton, Cumberland, Russell, and part of Pulaski County.
 

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One Comment

  1. Mark Nolan says:

    Hoover, like most Republicans, has great difficulty with facts and telling the truth.

    Kavanaugh was not attacked by the “radical left,” he was opposed by those who think Supreme Court Justices should be honest, impartial, and temperate. It is the “radical right” who refused to even consider a far more qualified candidate, Garland Merrick.

    It is true that McConnell’s actions have likely impacted the direction of the Supreme Court for decades and generations to come, just as a biological plague would impact far into the future. His legacy, like the legacy of the narcissistic megalomaniac in the White House, will be curse by generation far into the future.

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