Why You Should Vote Democrat this November

Ali Gardezi, Staff Writer

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Benjamin Harrison, Herbert Hoover, and Rutherford B. Hayes had all nominated a judge to the Supreme Court in the last year of their presidencies. Despite all three presidents being Republican, all three of their respective nominees were confirmed by a Senate controlled by a majority of Democrats. In the greater scheme of history, these particular instances seem trivial. However, after President Obama’s nomination of Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, these three events are critical in outlining the Republican Party’s hypocrisy both during the Obama presidency and the current administration.

The president is undoubtedly the most powerful person in the United States government. The United States Constitution has invested the president with the power to nominate a judge to the Supreme Court when there is a vacancy to be filled. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states:

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:” After a judge is nominated by the President, it is now the job of the Senate to either decline the nomination or confirm the nominee to the Supreme Court. Each senator has a duty to uphold the Constitution. By giving each nominee a hearing, Senators are fulfilling their constitutional duty as well as fulfilling their obligation to their constituents who ultimately voted them into office. The Senate has the right to decline the nomination by vote, but it does not have the right to withhold a hearing. The Senate’s role is to first give their “advice” to the President. Only after doing so may they take a vote to decline or confirm the nomination.

Republicans have often touted themselves as defenders of the Constitution and pioneers of American democracy. However, a true test of their devotion to the Constitution came in 2016, when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February. Antonin Scalia had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and he was often regarded as one of the most conservative voices on the Supreme Court. Up until his death, the Republican party held five of the nine court seats, giving them the slight majority. Nonetheless, after the death of Justice Scalia, Republicans in Congress knew that under President Obama, the slight majority of court seats would now be allotted to the Democrats. Not even a week after President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Republican senators were already looking to block any nomination made by the President. Not only were prominent Republican senators blocking the nomination, but so were others too.

In the New York Times Op-Ed entitled, “The Stolen Supreme Court Seat” by their editorial board, the writers illuminate the GOP’s hypocrisy in the light of a vacant Supreme Court seat: “It was stolen by top Senate Republicans, who broke with longstanding tradition and refused to consider any nominee Mr. Obama might send them, because they wanted to preserve the court’s conservative majority.” (2). By refusing to even offer Judge Garland a hearing, not only were the Senators writing off the last year of a president’s term, but they were in turn denying their constitutional duty to consider a President’s nomination. The Republican senators stalled Judge Garland’s hearing for 239 days until the nomination expired on January 3, 2017, with the end of the 114th Congress. The election of President Donald J. Trump in November 2016 secured a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

More importantly, however, as Americans, we cannot deny that the current seat on which President Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is sitting today is nonetheless a stolen one. In the same article by the New York Times entitled, “The Stolen Supreme Court Seat,” the editorial board later writes: “No matter how it plays out, Americans must remember one thing above all: The person who gets confirmed will sit in a stolen seat. It was stolen from Barack Obama, a twice-elected president who fulfilled his constitutional duty more than nine months by nominating Merrick Garland, a highly qualified and widely respected federal appellate judge.” The Supreme Court ensures justice, and yet an injustice was served to it. By denying even a hearing for a nominee, Republicans have not only shown a disregard for the Constitution, but have set a precedent for all future Supreme Court nominations in the last year of a president’s term, ultimately damaging the sanctity of the highest court in the United States’ judicial system.

In order to retain the sanctity of the Supreme Court, it is vital that the American people vote Democrat in the upcoming midterm elections. The current president is likely to nominate more judges to the Supreme Court, as both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer will likely resign in the next few years. Moreover, if Republicans continue to hold Congress, they could easily revive their legislative agenda and pass more laws in the 115th Congress. Nor would Democrats be able to issue subpoenas or block future Trump nominees—potentially giving the Republican Party to secure the Supreme Court in their favor for decades.