Thursday, March 17, 2016

Merrick Garland, Obama's pick for SCOTUS, deserves fair treatment and vetting process

Childish GOP need to grow up, begin nomination hearings on Merrick Garland

President Barack Obama has fulfilled his constitutional duties and selected a nominee for consideration to replace the late Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. It’s time that the Senate fulfill its constitutional duties as well.

Merrick Garland is a fitting nominee. He has plenty of judicial experience, and what’s more he has glowing bipartisan praise from his hearings during previous appointments. Any obstruction on forwarding him to the Senate for consideration would be purely political, and unprecedented, for the Republicans to engage in.

Consistently, the American people agree. Poll after poll shows a majority believe that the president’s nominee deserves a fair shot, a chance to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration to a full Senate vote.

But Republicans have a different plan. They say that since we’re in an election year that the nominee deserves to be chosen by the next president. Were we to put that precedent to practice elsewhere, it’d be foolish: all government work would cease, and the nation itself would be unable to conduct any business by those rules.

Indeed, by waiting until the next president is inaugurated, we could see the Supreme Court without its full bench for a full term, and possibly extending into part of its next term as well.

Republican senators like Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, who have pledged to not allow even a hearing on the president’s nominee, are obstructing a path that the founders of our nation set for us through the U.S. Constitution. And though they may have the legal right to do so, Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton and others never intended for this kind of political play with the judiciary, for such purposeful obstruction of a nominee on the basis of the proximity of the next election, nor on the basis of who the sitting president was.

President Obama is the commander in chief for a full presidential term. His duties are NOT limited to a full term-minus nine months. He was elected in 2008 and again in 2012 with the full understanding that this power would be enumerated to him.

The American people, through public sentiment and the power of the ballot, have given their consent for him to nominate someone as a justice. It’s time that the members of the Senate do their duty, vet Merrick Garland, and determine whether he’s a suitable fit for the Supreme Court. Their current behavior is childish, and the American people deserve better.

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