The Instigator
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The Contender
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Should the Senate hold hearings and a vote on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 323 times Debate No: 89795
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




Yes, Obama is part of the Executive Branch, not the Judicial Branch. Therefore, the rest of the Supreme Court should choose alone the new Supreme Court member to replace Antonin Scalia.


No, the Senate should not hold a hearing for Merrick Garland. In an extraordinarily contested election cycle, the people of the United States should have a voice in a decision that would impact the country in such a drastic way. The Senate also has no obligation to vote on a nominee.

I look forward to a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Obama is a hypocrite. When he was a junior senator in the senate, he blocked George W. Bush from nominating a new Justice in the Supreme Court in Bush'so last term. Now, Obama is changing the rules as he goes along. Since there is no stopping an executive from nominating a new Justice without the people's say, the new nominee should at least have a vote and hearing when accepting a new Justice. Only a vote and hearing within the conservative and liberal parties of the Court.


Is Obama's argument hypocritical? Absolutely. However it was a good decision to make.

Obama's actions as a Senator and Republican actions now have the backing of the Constitution. As per Article II Section II of the Constitution, the President is to nominate with the "advice and consent of the Senate" Supreme Court justices.

What is "advice and consent?" There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly outlines what the Senate's duties are when it comes to the nominating process except for this. Here is where the debate lies. It comes down to an interpretation of this clause. Because there is no explicit limit on the Senate's powers, advice and consent can be interpreted as the Senate's current action of refusing to hear Garland. They have advised the President not to nominate a candidate in a politically turbulent time and will not consent to his nomination.

Now that it has been established that the Senate "could" refuse to hear Obama's candidate, we can address the question of "should."

There is no denying that this election cycle is far more turbulent than years past. There are record turn outs to primaries and caucuses across the United States. Hell, this election cycle and political happenings has even brought together two teenagers to debate policy. At the current time, there is a popular uprising against the current "establishment" on both sides of the isle. The Republicans are finding their voices in anti-establishment candidates such as Donald Trump and Tea Party Ted Cruz. On the other side, we have the Democratic party split (as indicated by the Real Clear Politics average showing Sanders behind Clinton by a mere 1.2 points) between an anti-establishment Sanders and insider Hillary. Tensions are higher than ever as both parties seem to be on the verge of fracturing.

So if the majority of the people of the United States identify as being "anti-establishment' what makes us believe that the American populace feels confident in their current leaders in the Senate who would be voting on our future? Republicans in Senate realize the fact that the American people do not trust those whom they elected. Therefore, they have made the logical decision to allow the American people to voice themselves in the 2016 elections. Could the American people lean in Obama's favor? Surely. But why take a risk in upsetting the American people in a justice that doesn't represent our values?
Debate Round No. 2


Yes, the Senate SHOULD follow their Constitutional responsibility. "Advice and Consent"? The Senators do not even have to accept the nominee. There are 269 Senators. 181 Liberals and 251 Conservatives. Of course, the nominee is a Liberal since he was chosen by Obama. There are more Conservatives than Liberals and would outnumber the chance of the new nominee of being allowed a seat in the Senate.


I am beginning question my opponent's understanding of American governance. My opponent is arguing that the Senate must complete their "Constitutional responsibility" while at the same time ignoring what the Constitution explicitly says in regards to the nomination process. This, incredibly, is what I believe to be his most minor mistake in his argument. He makes obvious he has zero understanding of the American Senate, saying "there are 269 Senators." I would like to point out that there are only 100 US Senators. He can't even be confused with the 435 member House of Representatives. Where he derived his numbers is something I am not sure of.

He is correct, however, that the current US Senate has a conservative majority largely in the form of the Republican party. Obama's party, the Democrats, is the current minority. However, this is irrelevant to the overall argument. Yes if we play a numbers game, the nominee would hypothetically be struck down by the majority. This simply does not matter. The argument is about whether or not the active majority should hear the nominee.

So here lies our focus: should the Republican party hear Merrick Garland?

I ask anyone who reads this to first question if the Senate is standing on Constitutional ground. Upon evaluation, the answer to this question would be an astounding "yes." The Constitution reads that the President should nominate a justice with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. These two words are the Senate's duty and responsibility; words that are being followed albeit in a nontraditional fashion. They have advised the President not to consider making a nomination.

Now I ask my readers to think of the political times we are living in today. We are living in the most heated presidential primary season in years. Now more than ever people want their voices heard in their government. The Senate should not deny us this right. We deserve a nominee that represents the American people. Through the Republican actions in the Senate, we are being given this crucial opportunity.

Thank you for wonderful debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ruairi50 6 months ago
Thank you very much
Posted by whiteflame 6 months ago
>Reported vote: christopher1006// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments), 2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: In the first round, Pro stated that the power of the decision should be relegated to the Supreme Court. Con failed to counter this, instead addressing the topic itself. Since neither side actually addressed this, this point does not flow to either side. At round two, Pro named the standing president of the United States a hypocrite due to his actions as a senator. Con cedes the point but counters with the idea that the interpretation of this particular section of the Constitution has changed since then. Furthermore, Con fails to explain the reason that the interpretation has changed since Mr. Obama's time as a senator. That point flows Pro. Con, at the end, brought up an argument about how the senate doing this because they are listening to the American people. Never addressed, point flows Con. Pro argues that hearing the nominee poses no political threat to the Senate majority. Con cedes, point flows Pro. Con brings new point, invalid since response impossible.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter dosn't explain sources. (2) Much as the voter goes through the debate round by round, there's no clear decision coming through this analysis. Especially as he apparently believes arguments flow to both sides, the voter is required to provide some form of assessment for the debate and not just for individual points.
Posted by ruairi50 6 months ago
I don't think that vote was a good vote for several reasons.

1) The voter claims" the interpretation of this particular section of the Constitution has changed since then [Obama's term as Senator]. This is not true. This interpretation of the Constitution has existed since 1789. There was never a change in interpretation as the voter is suggesting but only a different application of that interpretation with the only difference being which political party holds the White House.

2) I did recognize that the Senate majority was not threatened if there was to be a vote. This is common fact. I argued that in this case the Senate majority does not matter. What does matter, however, is the ability for the American people to have a voice in who they want to guide us into the future- something that would be determined in the next election.

3) The voter ignores the major fact that my opponent had a major lapse in his knowledge of American government when he was talking about the Senate majority in his third round argument, saying "There are 269 Senators. 181 Liberals and 251 Conservatives." Anyone who has an ounce of knowledge on the subject of American politics would know that this is not true. He also misrepresents the parties not just here, but in his round 2 argument. The misinformation used to make his argument should not cede him points especially considering the fact I countered the argument he made.

4) Spelling and grammatical errors such as "Bush'so"

I feel as if parts of my argument was ignored entirely while the voter completely ignored major gaps in my opponents arguments. I don't believe I would be unfair or unsportsmanlike to suggest the vote should be rescinded.
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