Point/Counterpoint: Justice appointment
President Barack Obama has authority to appoint new Supreme Court Justice
With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a national outcry for fairness and political polarization within the courts has erupted.
The nation is split in how to move forward with his passing, as a new justice is to be appointed either by President Barack Obama or the new president elected for 2017. Since Scalia passed during Obama’s presidency, he is the rightful candidate that should appoint the new justice.
I did not expect so much backlash from this unfortunate event, as similar situations have arisen during both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Ronald Reagan’s presidencies. Both had relatively little time left in office when they were needed to appoint a new justice, and their decision to appoint nominees was not received with as much negative press or outcry as Obama’s potential decision has already received.
Those who are protesting Obama’s potential nomination are saying they believe waiting for the next president would be more effective as they are worried that the Senate will not approve O b a m a ’ s nominees. If the Senate were not to confirm his n o m i n e e s , there is worry that nothing Obama does currently will matter and his efforts to find a replacement will be for nothing.
Leading much of the controversial backlash on the potential hiatus, Republicans are hoping by waiting until a new president is elected, the chances of filling the Supreme Court justices with another Republican will bring balance to the system. However, historically, Senate, Congress and the Supreme Court have always been fairly tilted to one side – as is the case in nearly every political situation with polarized parties.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he, as well as the Senate, believe for the sake of the American people, nominations should be made after the next president is elected. McConnell also stated he will not sit down with any of Obama’s nominations, publicly disregarding Obama’s potential.
Many Republicans argue it is easier to gamble to wait on a new and improved perspective from a new president rather than biting the bullet and accepting nominations from a president with whom the Senate has several problems .
If the appointment were to wait, it would be well over a year before a new justice is chosen, which is a vacancy our country can’t afford to avoid filling.
When has it been constitutionally acceptable for a political party to bypass historical political moves so the party has a slight chance of having another maneuver in their favor?