How You Can Lie While Telling the Truth

PinocchiosIf you were asked if it’s possible to tell the truth and lie at the same time, your initial response might be no. But through the magic of statistics and data many things are possible.

In response to the contentions between President Obama and Congress over nominating a replacement for the Supreme Court seat occupied by the late Antonin Scalia, Mike Honda, a Democrat representing California in The House of Representatives posted  “It’s Time for the Senate to Do Its Job” to Medium, urging senators to hold a vote on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. If you didn’t know, Republicans in Congress have said they have no intention of voting on Supreme Court nominees during the tail end of the current presidency.

At the top of the post is a graphic created by the House Democratic Caucus showing Supreme Court nominees in the 20th Century, five of which were both nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year. “Let’s give President Obama’s #SCOTUSnominee a fair hearing and timely vote,” the graphic says.

Politifact reviewed the post for accuracy and came away giving it a true rating. Here’s where life gets interesting. While it is true that the 5 Supreme Court nominees nominated during a presidential election year were confirmed, what isn’t shown on the Medium post or on Politifact is in each of those confirmations Congress was controlled by the same party as the president was from. Not only does this make for a quicker confirmation, it’s also in the best interest of a lame duck president to get a nominee from their party in before the presidency and Congress could switch to the other party.

Conversely, Democrats have been known to block judicial appointments, including Supreme Court appointments, despite this seeming to contradict with what many Democractic leaders are saying is the responsibility of Congress.

This is important information. If it’s not being mentioned I can only conclude it’s from ignorance or questionable honesty – maybe not telling a lie, per se, but surely withholding very relevant information.

Mike Honda, The House Democratic Caucus and Politifact don’t mention that in the 5 Supreme Court nominations in the 20th century during presidential election years the presidency and Congress were unified. Were they ignorant of this, or were they trying to deceive us by withholding this information? I’m not sure it makes a big difference. They’re either ignorant or dishonest. Either way, this doesn’t reflect well on them.



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