Should the Senate hold hearings and a vote on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee?
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I look forward to a good debate.
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?
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.
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