Editorial – The Horror
Nothing highlights the total disfunction of Washington and both political parties more than the current debate about the vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s like two kids, one has a baseball, the other a bat. Both want to be first up and refuse to compromise. So what happens? Nothing – there is no game because each side took their respective equipment home in a huff.
And we the people, the spectators, have nothing to do but watch grass grow on the field where nothing is ever accomplished.
Justice Antonin Scalia, probably the most conservative jurist and strictest Constitutional interpreter on the Supreme Court, has died. That leaves an opening on the nine-member panel, which is now split almost equally between conservative and liberal views.
President Obama has the privilege, the right and the duty to nominate an individual to the U.S. Supreme Court. And that privilege, right and duty is spelled out in the Constitution of the United States.
The U.S. Senate has the privilege, the right and the duty to hold hearings on that nominee; to provide “advice and consent” and approve or deny the president’s nomination. And that privilege, right and duty is spelled out in the Constitution of the United States.
It is a privilege, a right and a duty. Three words that are lacking in the current debate.
Leading Republican senators, who currently hold a majority in the upper house, are adamant that the next president, who will not take office until January, be the one to nominate Scalia’s replacement.
Obama has made it very clear he plans to do his constitutional duty. And yes, we see the irony that Obama is now happy to follow the Constitution when it suits him.
Both sides have plenty of ammunition from previous late term nominations, speeches in the various chambers over the years and pulling positions out of a hat that Obama has every right to make a nomination/absolutely cannot make a nomination.
Who cares? Those examples, both for and against, are in the past. Today is today. The Supreme Court is set to hear some of the most important cases in its history.
Let’s all agree Obama is not about to nominate some arch liberal – someone totally against Scalia’s position. Republican senators can quickly dismiss that nomination with a “we told you he would do that” and guess what, we are back in the field where nothing is accomplished.
If Obama is smart, he will nominate a moderate, a federal judge who already has been vetted by the Senate and previously won unanimous approval. There are a handful of key jurists who fit that mold.
If the Republican-controlled Senate was smart, they would stop this silly notion that Obama doesn’t have the right to make a nomination. They should put on their big boy pants and big girl dresses and hold hearings.
There is nothing that forces them to make a decision during Obama’s term. There is nothing that forces them to approve Obama’s nomination.
Refusing to even hold hearings, to even see who the nominee is, is sophomoric at best. It makes the Republicans look like little children turning red holding their breaths.
Not holding hearings could turn around and bite the Republicans right where it hurts.
The Republicans are betting the “What If” scenario doesn’t pan out. And that’s a dangerous bet.
The “What If?”
Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. The Democrats regain control of the Senate by two votes. Obama’s nomination as the next justice of the Supreme Court is approved on strict party lines, 52-48.
Oh the horror.