In the midst of this mess of an election season, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at his Texas ranch earlier last month.
That means President Obama has an opportunity to appoint a new justice in his place.
What it also means is that our GOP-controlled Congress won’t let him if it has anything to say about it — which it does.
Republicans in Congress have blatantly said they plan to refuse hearings for any of Obama’s nominees.
For the time being, we’ll currently have an even four-to-four ratio of Republican to Democratic justices.
For any cases they decide to vote on that land on an even four-to-four vote, no action will be passed on them, and the case will remain under judgement of the lower court.
A prime example of an issue that’s going to be pushed aside once more as a result of this is Roe vs. Wade, the sensitive case involving women’s abortion rights.
With almost a year left in Obama’s term, this will be the longest wait for a Supreme Court nominee to be appointed since 1869.
Congress likes to reference the infamous “Thurmond Rule” in regards to this situation, but funny enough, it only really gets brought up in high-stakes nominee decisions such as this.
Another one of Congress’ excuses is that whomever is the next president is more likely to represent the voice of the people, as he or she would be more recently put into office.
“They (the people) did, when President Obama won the 2012 election by 5 million votes,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said.
Congress needs to stop seeing itself as opposing factions, and rather work on progressing and getting things done.
For an entire branch of our government to be crippled as a result of wanting to defend parochial ideals is absurdly inefficient.
We, the American people, did not elect these officials to the positions they hold for them to be stuck in a stalemate.
Another common argument you’ll hear from the GOP spectrum of things is:
“If we know how the situation is going to end (assuming this ‘end’ they’re suggesting is that they’ll reject Obama’s nomination in hearing), is it worth the conflict and extra division?”
And my response to that is this: absolutely.
Not only have there been six occasions in the past in which a Supreme Court nominee had been approved in an election year, but there has never been a time in American history where a vacancy has been left for so long because of a presidential election.
Congress has no excuse to continue to not do exactly what the Constitution states its job is to do, and right now, that’s making sure it does hearings with Obama’s nominations to ensure our government is functioning at full capacity, especially in an election year.