In Favor: Elijah Lutz, Staff Writer
Merrick Garland must have a hearing.
The United States Constitution states that it is the job of the President to appoint persons to the Supreme Court of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. While members of the Senate have stated that President Obama should wait for the next President to appoint a successor, it is the constitutional responsibility of the President to appoint a successor to the bench when there is a vacancy. That responsibility is not somehow waived when it is an election year. The President is still in office, and his responsibilities are not waived.
Merrick Garland is a more than qualified candidate. Having served as a prosecutor prior to his judgeship and spending over ten years on the most important federal appeals court in the nation, he has the perfect experience that a jurist should need when nominated to the highest court in the land. Besides that, Garland has been praised repeatedly by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. He is a moderate nominee who has an impeccable track record that cannot be questioned.
Sen. McConnell, an opponent to the President’s nomination, stated that he did not want there to be a nominee so the “American people can have say in who the next nominee is.” I think it is worth pointing out that the American people did have their say when they elected President Obama to the presidency, not only once, but twice. There was no mistake in the democratic process that led to his election, and just because a Democratic president is in office does not mean a Republican Congress can hold up a Congressionally mandated task in the hopes of a Republican being elected President later this year.
The Senate must do its job. The President has done his. A nominee has been named to the Senate and now the Senate must not only advise but also consent or oppose to the nominee’s appointment. They must hold a hearing on Judge Garland and take a vote. A whole branch of government cannot be held in a state of waiting for the presidential election. The Senate is constitutionally obliged to let it be debated and discussed.
Opposed: Matthew Pertz, Opinions Editor
Make no mistake: I hate nearly everything the GOP does.
The honorable conservatism of Reagan and Lincoln has deteriorated to the bickering conglomerate that somehow boasts both the slimy Ted Cruz and the confused Donald Trump. The modern Republican Party has caused anger among even the most faithful Republicans, including SC Sen. Lindsey Graham, who declared in February, “My party has gone bat[expletive] crazy”.
However, I have to agree with the Senate Republicans’ decision to ignore President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. It’s both politically beneficial and Constitutionally legal.
Just as I have the right to vote and therefore also have the right to not exercise that right, the Senate has the right to vet the President’s nomination and the right to relinquish said right entirely. The Constitution has no language that requires the Senate to confirm every nominee the President presents, nor is the Senate even required to talk to these people. As petty as that logic may be, it is perfectly legal.
Considering this how consequential this November’s election could be, McConnell, the Senate majority leader and presumptive figurehead of Congressional Republicans, believes that the time is right to object any nominee.
“The principle [guiding the GOP’s protest] is the American people are choosing their next president,” McConnell said in an interview with Fox News, “and their next president should pick this Supreme Court nominee.”
This logic is not native to the Republican Party. In 1992 (when Republican George H.W. Bush was Commander-in-Chief and Democrats ruled the Senate), then-Senator Joe Biden advocated for postponing a an election year Supreme Court nomination.
“It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over,” Biden said then.
Vice President Biden sings a different song in 2016 than Sen. Biden in 1992, but this is to be expected. The Supreme Court is the most powerful legislative entity in America because it alone is unchecked. The court can uphold or destroy any law with no consequences to be found. After the death of the ever-conservative Antonin Scalia, the courts ideological balance is dangerously close to shifting. We can’t blame the Republicans for wanting to capitalize on this opportunity.