Norms, we are told, matter. Violating norms, recklessly disregarding norms — these are charges on which President Trump is often arraigned in the court of public opinion.
The indictment starts with his annoying habit of inventing insulting nicknames for his opponents and critics. You can add to the list as you will and perhaps come up with enough material just there to consume the 700-plus word limit of a newspaper column.
But Trump hasn’t been the only one disregarding norms of late. Consider the question of whether and when the president and Senate should fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The historical precedent is clear, as set out by National Review’s Dan McLaughlin. When a vacancy occurs in a presidential year and the opposition party has a majority in the Senate, the president can nominate, but the nominee is almost never confirmed. There have been 10 such vacancies in the history of the republic. Presidents made pre-Election Day nominations in six cases, but only one nominee was confirmed before the election. That was in 1888. [ … ]