Opinion - Senate Needs to Schedule Hearings, Vote on Garland SCOTUS Nomination

By Nancy Fox | March 20, 2016 |

Republican U.S. Senators are refusing to schedule any hearing for the remainder of President’s Obama’s term in office to consider the most recent nominee to the Supreme Court. They admit Judge Merrick Garland is exceptionally well qualified but they say their behavior is based on “principle” not the individual. 

What “principle”?

There is only one real principle involved and it is quite important - the U.S. Constitution. It mandates that the Senate consider and approve or disapprove a President’s nominees to the Supreme Court. This is part of the checks and balances the founders wrote into the Constitution. If Republican Senators don’t like Obama or any judge he nominates no matter how well qualified, then they can and should vote “no” as they have a constitutional right to do.
Judge Merrick Garland.

There is no historical precedent or principle that justifies a Senate majority refusing to perform its Constitutional duty to act when a President submits a nomination to the Supreme Court. Historical precedent is just the opposite. When Ronald Reagan was President 29 years ago, he submitted a strong conservative nominee’s name to the Senate - Robert Bork. The Democrats then controlled the Senate. Judge Bork was also well qualified and in fact sat on the same Court as Merrick Garland and Justice Scalia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a week of hearings. At the end of the week-long hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Committee voted 9-5 to reject the nomination. Nevertheless, the Committee at the insistence of President Reagan and Judge Bork sent the nomination to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. There was no filibuster by the majority party. Instead in accordance with the Constitution there was an up or down vote. The bi-partisan vote to reject the nomination was 58-42. President Reagan then nominated Judge Anthony Kennedy. Judge Kennedy, like all judges since who have been nominated to the Supreme Court by other Presidents, received a hearing and an up or down vote.

Refusing to meet with a nominee, refusing to hold hearings and refusing to vote upholds only one “principle”---obstructing the administration of the laws and Constitution of the United States. The American people deserve better. They deserve Senators that do not collect a pay check for refusing to meet, refusing to hold hearings, and refusing to vote.

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Connie said...

Great Op Ed Nancy! I totally agree with you.

I believe in putting forth Judge Garland, President Obama is reaching across the aisle to nominate a candidate the Republicans could live with, and more importantly, confirm. He could have easily nominated a very liberal judge that would have set Senator Mitch McConnell into another tailspin.

Using the strategy we have to wait may come back to bite the Republicans big time. Does the Republican leadership, which seems to be falling apart, think this tactic will get their future candidate the White House – the current frontrunner, by the way, they don’t support? Maybe so, maybe not.

And my personal opinion is that Obama selected a nominee much like Chief Justice John Roberts in that if confirmed, Judge Garland, may on any given vote, vote with his liberal colleagues or not.

Anonymous said...

So when both Senator Reid and then Senator Biden publicly claimed that they would do the same thing if President Bush nominated someone that was ok, but know that it is a Republican controlled Senate and a Democratic President it is not?

Come on Nancy, you are better than that.

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