Posted by: Edmund R. Folsom
Date: February 23, 2016
“The President…shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint…judges of the Supreme Court.” United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.
With the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court is in what is widely perceived to be a dead-even ideological split between the political left and the political right. Democrats are pressing for the quick appointment of a Supreme Court Justice who can be counted on to advance progressivism’s agenda, while they still have the guaranteed opportunity to nominate one. Many Republicans seek to postpone the appointment of Scalia’s successor, hoping the next president will be one of their own who will nominate a Justice to thwart the agenda of progressivism. It’s pure politics on both sides. There is nothing in the language of the Constitution that compels the Senate to vote on an Obama nominee this year– the Senate’s advice can be to wait until the next Administration before appointing a successor, and they can choose not to consent to an Obama nominee’s appointment– read for yourselves, above. But if waiting is the course the Senate chooses, they will have to withstand a political bludgeoning for, among other things, allegedly: (1) acting unconstitutionally (a canard); (2) playing partisan politics (pot calls kettle black); and (3) acting irresponsibly by leaving this important post unfilled for a year (short-term pain for long-term gain?). Any and all of it is pure partisan politics, as the Democrats pull out all stops to keep their moment of opportunity from slipping away while the Republicans pull out all the stops hoping to buy enough time for theirs to arrive. Somehow it seems that none of our politicians view the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court as apolitical diviners of pure truth– but do they view them as anything more than tools?
The Washington post gives 3 Pinocchios to those claiming the Senate has a constitutional duty to vote on an Obama Supreme Court nominee. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/03/16/does-the-senate-have-a-constitutional-responsibility-to-consider-a-supreme-court-nomination/
Article 2, Section 2, and Supreme Court Nominees.