Our Opinion: Demand that childish GOP act on Court nominee

Demand that childish GOP act on Court nominee

To the editor:

Upon President Obama's announcement of his nominee for the US Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Court of Appeals, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promptly announced that the Senate would not confirm the nominee. In fact, it won't even hold hearings in the Senate Judicial Committee regarding the candidate's qualifications.

The process of vetting candidates before the Senate Judicial Committee is a relatively new one. It started in 1955 when President Eisenhower nominated John Marshall Harlan II, primarily because of the nominee's leanings regarding civil rights, solely at the insistence of a single senator with white supremacist leanings. The Constitution does not require this step, it only requires a simple majority in the Senate approve of the nominee.

Historically, confirmation has been a routine and quick process with a few minor exceptions. The longest confirmation process in the history of our country was that of Justice Louis Brandeis, whose confirmation took 125 days from the time he was proposed. Currently, there is nearly 2½ times that length of time remaining in the president's second term. While detractors have indicated that the American people should have a say in the process (presumably via the general election), that rhetoric really doesn't pass muster at a time when the highest court in the nation continues to hear a wide range of current issues absent its full compliment of justices.

The people have voted for the president: In fact, they did so twice. This isn't as though we are talking about a nomination in the lame duck session following the general election; we are in the prime of the second term. Following the prevailing rhetoric of the majority leadership, a sitting executive should do nothing in their second term since they will not face the voters again during their time in office.

The rationalizations for not confirming, or even hearing form the nominee are childish, and they are beneath the dignity of the office being in question, the legislative body who should be hearing the issue, and the United States itself. It is time for "We the people" to tell Washington that enough is enough.

I would urge you to contact: Sen. Elizabeth Warren — 202-224-4543 , www.warren.senate.gov/; and Sen. Ed Markey — 202-224-2742; www.markey.senate.gov/

We must insist that the Senate do not only the job it is paid to do, but also to uphold the Constitution, which they are sworn to do.

Brian W. Barnett, Glendale


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