Point/Counterpoint: Justice appointment

Republicans hold right to wait for new president to fill position vacancy

After hearing the news of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, I was first filled with shock and sadness that someone so influential had passed.

Quickly after, I became concerned for the future of the Supreme Court and with whom would be appointed as the next Supreme Court judge, along with the impact that would be made if a liberal successor were appointed in his place.

While the media and political figures could have been more respectful to give more time to the news of his passing, many on both sides of the Democrat and Republican parties quickly debated about whether President Barack Obama should nominate a successor. Rightfully so — the nation should be concerned about who will be nominated next and if the 44th president will be the one to nominate the successor, or if it will be the 45th president.

If Obama appoints the next Supreme Court justice, it will surely be another liberal-leaning judge (just as the last two he previously appointed) and the balance of the Supreme Court will be off. While it is a gamble for Republicans, if the next president is Republican, there is a good chance the next Supreme Court justice will be also and have a traditionalist view of the law like Scalia, and the balance will hopefully be restored.

The debate and discussion is important. Republicans need to fight hard to ensure the next president has the chance to nominate someone. With many important cases before the Supreme Court, including cases about abortion, affirmative action and voting rights, there needs to be an even balance so one side does not have too much of a sway. If the tables were turned, I would make the same argument. Despite the political party of the president, there needs to be a balance of power in the court.

If the Senate does not approve someone the president nominates, Obama will have to start from square one and the long process will continue until the end of his term.

The 11 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying they will not hold a hearing on anyone President Obama nominates for the position. While I may not agree with the Republican Senate’s threat, if no one nominated by Obama is confirmed by the time he leaves office, the next president would get to pick the nominee. Because of this, Obama needs to focus on other topics to make a positive difference during the time he has left in office.

While there may never be anyone like Scalia, the Supreme Court does not need another liberal on the court or someone who believes in a postmodern view. This is a huge issue that should be debated so that the traditional interpretation of the law is not lost.

About Ashley Dinkel

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