By Jake Mulick
It’s really a shame that Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, will probably not become a United States Supreme Court Justice. He is the best choice, as far as both political sides are concerned. As a middle-of-the-road liberal who is Harvard Law-educated and has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, there is no way around it: Garland, with his impressive résumé, is the ideal candidate for both parties to serve on the Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, he is just being used as a political pawn by the Obama administration to prove that the Republicans across the aisle are unreasonable members of Congress, unwilling to contribute to bipartisanship. Garland is a respected and experienced candidate who, for the most part, would appease both sides of the aisle. This being said, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has vowed to not permit an Obama nominee to be approved by the Senate, according to his statement on Politico.com from Saturday, Feb. 13, which was released just hours after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Republicans’s decision to block any Obama nominee comes from multiple different beliefs. The first and foremost is that Scalia was a very conservative member of the court and, by appointing a liberal judge, it will tip the court into leaning left on most future decisions. Another school of thought is that Obama has already appointed two judges, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and should not be permitted to appoint a third. The third and final school of thought is something called the Thurmond Rule. That rule is that no lame duck president, a president in his or her final year as president, should be allowed to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. The Thurmond Rule has only been implemented once, in order to block President Lyndon Johnson’s appointment of Abe Fortas as chief justice, according to The New York Times, but the Republicans claim that this is an important precedent that has been set forth.
The Republicans’s control of the Senate and refusal to do anything in order to appoint Garland as Supreme Court Judge is abhorrent. The constitution clearly states that the president has the power to appoint a nomination for the Supreme Court. It doesn’t say anything about term endings or anything akin to that, but it does clearly state what powers the president has. Obama has given the Republicans a gift with nominating Garland, but unfortunately, they will still refuse to consider him because of party allegiances.
This event represents a massive problem with bipartisanship in the United States. The refusal to entertain the nomination of a Supreme Court justice based on the talking points of a political party over working with the commander-in-chief is bad politics, as well as a disappointing reflection on McConnell and the rest of the Republican leadership. Scalia’s dedication to strict constructionist ideals should be reason enough for the senate to entertain a nomination. I hope that the president is able to finagle some sort of deal in order to put Garland in a Supreme Court robe, but I am pessimistic about his chances.
Students share opinions around campus
Is Garland a good nominee?
“I really don’t mind if the next president decides (the next justice)… I really don’t know too much about (Garland).”
“I think that since (Obama is) the comander-in-chief, he should be able to appoint anyone (he wants).”