Something to Think About: The Supreme Court Vacancy
February 17, 2016
There’s a lot of hypocrisy in the world of politics. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty inescapable.
It can be found on both sides of the aisle, too. Democrats are often seen as contradicting themselves in their anti-death penalty, yet pro-choice stance. And that is just one example. Democratic politicians are caught all of the time changing their stances for political expediency, but what’s happening right now in the Senate with the Supreme Court vacancy reaches a whole new level.
Ever since President Obama was elected, there has been a lot of hostility between him and Congress. In the past eight years, we’ve seen sequesters, fiscal cliffs and a government shut-down. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell even said publicly after Obama’s election that his goal was to make him a one-term president.
This hostility has by no means been tempered with time and has now reached the point where Senate Republicans are putting their disdain for President Obama and the Democratic Party above some of their most fundamental ideals.
Conservatives typically believe that it is essential to adhere strictly to the Constitution, that its contents are not open to interpretation and that the Founding Fathers simply knew best. It’s for this reason that it is particularly surprising that they have chosen to ignore a key part of Article II. While they will readily point out the President’s “unconstitutionality” with regards to ObamaCare or executive orders, they are currently choosing to ignore his obligation to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court and their obligation to eventually confirm one.
Of course, in an system of checks and balances, the Senate has the right to reject an unqualified nominee, but that is not the case here. Senator McConnell has announced that the Senate will wait until the election of the next president for a confirmation. Basically, the Senate will wait until there is a chance that a Republican is in the Oval Office.
McConnell and the conservatives standing behind him haven chosen partisanship over the constitutionality they hold so dear.
However, what is arguably more significant than that, is that they will essentially be rendering the Supreme Court incapable of making some of the very important issues facing them in the coming sessions. Abortion laws, immigration, and campaign finance are all on the docket this year, and if there’s a 4-4 split on the Supreme Court, the law will be decide by the lower circuit courts. Each circuit represents different states, meaning that, potentially, we could see huge legal inconsistencies across the country. We can’t go on that way for very long.
Once again, not only have Republicans found themselves in a pretty hypocritical spot, they’ve also sacrificed the functionality oh our government, just to score some political points.
I’m pretty sure that isn’t in the Constitution either.
Isabel Giovannetti is a senior at Robinson High School. She loves politics and is part of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council.