Bring it on.
Republicans shouldn’t be afraid of who President Barack Obama will nominate to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. I say, Mr. President, send the best ya got.
Find someone, if you can, that won’t anger the radical left or the hard right. See if you can follow your own advice when you told the Illinois Legislature that we all need to find a way to work together. As you said, “If we can’t compromise, then by definition, we can’t govern ourselves.”
So don’t send over some acolyte of Planned Parenthood, one of those hard-core “pro-choicers” who demand that a woman can abort a fetus at any place and at any time, regardless of its development. Spare us the Bernie Sanders-like socialists who would tether every American to the government. Or the “I-make-the-law” jurists who see the Constitution as a filmy document. to be trifled with. We, of course, know that you won’t nominate anyone of the opposite extreme.
Senate Republicans should give the nominee a fair hearing–unlike the Democrats did to Judge Bork and a few others who didn’t strictly hue to the “progressive” agenda. Then let the full Senate vote the nominee up or down. If the nominee is someone who is acceptable to all, then fine. Maybe that’s what the country needs.
But just as it is the president’s constitutional duty to send up a nomination, it is just as much the Senate’s duty to decide if the nominee is acceptable. If, as a result, the Senate refuses to confirm anyone until the next president is seated, then so be it.
I’m sympathetic to the notion–pushed by some Republicans–that the nomination should be left to the next
president. It would make the presidential election something of a plebiscite on the preferred direction that the nine, non-elected members of the court should take. It makes sense, theoretically.
But for Republicans, it’s bad politics. Democrats have successfully (but not entirely legitimately) hammered into the public’s mind that Republicans alone have grid-locked Washington. Delaying consideration of the nomination plays into that narrative’s hands. That approach also puts some GOP senators who are up for re-elction, such as Illinois’ Mark Kirk, on the spot.
Both parties have played the game of delaying judicial nominees for political advantage. Just as Democrats are playing a game of politics by insisting the the president is somehow obliged by the Constitution to make a Supreme Court nomination lickety split. Democrats, who ironically now consider themselves as “strict constructions,” state that it’s in the Constitution that the president is obliged to make a quick nomination.
It’s not in there. Just as the Constitution does not require that there be nine justices; Congress actually sets the number of justices. If Obama wanted to delay the nomination for some political reason, the Constitution would not prohibit it.
The truth is that every appointment to the Supreme Court bench is political. It’s not possible in a democracy to pluck a justice from a congregation of better angels. So, let’s get to it.
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