The Stupidparty is at it again: according to these strict constitutionalists, the president doesn’t have the Constitutional discretion to appoint Supreme Court Justices during his final year in office. Wait, what? Even one of the Stupidparty frontrunners said the following:
“Because actually, it’s not just for the Supreme Court, even for appellate courts, both parties have followed this precedent. There comes a point in the last year of the president, especially in their second term, where you stop nominating, or you stop the advice and consent process.”
As you can tell – Rubio isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box in addition to his inability to articulate original thoughts in an organized debate. The Republican golden boy – aka, the military industrial complex’s wet dream – probably forgot his pocket Constitution. It’s just appalling that Stupidparty frontrunners are constructing falsehoods that disrupt the functionality of government. Political polarization and special interests have caused a major mental regression within the Republican Party. And these are the political opportunists who believe that the 1st and 2nd Amendments are unlimited rights, i.e., protecting the right to intimidate Muslim Americans in front of their mosques and allowing mentally ill individuals to buy pistols. Anyone with a fundamental understanding of Supreme Court jurisprudence knows that virtually every right granted by the Constitution has limitations. Whether it’s not having the legal right to yell fire in a crowded theatre, or limitations on the type of weapons civilians can purchase, legal ceilings are created to prevent the abuse of certain rights. Even Scalia – a strict Constitutionalist– expressed his opinion on the topic of unlimited rights:
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…”. It is “…not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
This snippet from Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller should be read to every Stupidparty disciple. But back to the Supreme Court nomination process: Article II of the United States Constitution stipulates that the commander-in-chief is responsible for appointing Supreme Court Justices. The process goes as follows: when a vacancy opens up, the President nominates an individual to fill the voided seat. After a nominee is chosen, the Senate conducts hearings to properly vet the nominee. If no major scandal arises out of the hearing, a bipartisan Judiciary Committee votes on whether or not to allow the nomination to be voted on in the Senate. Sixty votes are required to end debate and ensure approval (or you can have Ted Cruz filibuster the nominee by reading Doctor Seuss stories for twenty hours). Lastly, recess appointments can be used to fill the seat.
Prior to the 1980s, appointing judicial nominees was a rapid, non-burdensome process, with judges being approved in under a month – nowadays, the process takes around sixty-seven days. And it should be noted that both parties partake in blocking nominees by employing tactics like filibustering, but there was never an implicit or explicit agreement between Congress and the President to disallow presidential nominations in the final year. Moreover, there’s no precedent put forth by presidential action that lends credence to this ludicrous notion, such as the “two term precedent” established by George Washington when he voluntarily relinquished power to the people by stepping down in order to prevent despotic rule. So, the question is, what the f**k are they referring to?
According to Fact Check, there have been six Supreme Court nominations in the final year of the presidency. By the way, appointing federal judges has been relatively simple until the Obama years – I wonder why… The point is: American political history tells us that a president can nominate a judge at any point during their presidency. As a matter of fact, Barack Obama can decide to nominate a judge on his final day in office – of course, the next president will be able to recall the nominee – but regardless, the nomination process is a Constitutional right that doesn’t have a particular time restriction. The only feeble argument the Stupidparty can make is that an outgoing, unpopular president, in an environment of Congress being held by the opposing party, should not be permitted to appoint justices as their decisions are not a direct reflection of public sentiment. However, the American government is technically a Republican style system with carefully constructed checks and balances written into a social contract to tame the irrational passions of the electorate. One of these checks and balances includes executive authority to appoint Supreme Court Justices – this authority controls the passions of the people by allowing a powerful legal entity to review potentially anti-Constitutional pieces of legislation, officially known as judicial review (set into place in Marbury v. Madison).
Furthermore, vacancies are a matter of chance as predicting the death of a Supreme Court justice is obviously difficult and unrealistic – the notion that the Founders would intend to prevent an appointment in the event of a death during a president’s final year is absurd. Having a split Court without a deciding vote breaks apart the essential function of the Judicial Branch, i.e., if a tie occurs, the Court is forced to affirm the appellate court’s decision. Incidentally, some invoke the Senate’s role to “advise and consent” in regards to approval of the nominee, which does in fact grant the Senate some power – however, nominees have historically been rejected for personal conduct and not political beliefs (this has become more common in contemporary American politics). Blind obstructionism deteriorates the nomination process because the Senate is – at the least – supposed to vet the president’s nominee. Saying that the Senate will refuse to review a nominee in the president’s final year is a political game that ultimately weakens the effectiveness of the Court during a vacancy, especially with the possibility of a hung Court.
Supreme Court appointments haven’t been as contentious of an issue until the Reagan years – this is because insidious money has continued to poison the system. Gerrymandering has largely contributed to America’s polarized political culture as a result of the influx of shady money. With districts turning more partisan, Congressmen are even more beholden to their corporate masters. Politicians like Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio are prime examples of the Republican Party’s unpragmatic polarizaiton– lies have literally become more valuable to the Party because of the emphasis on fundraising rather than rational and effective governance. Instead of raising the majority of campaign money from average Americans, Stupidparty leaders bend over to corporate lobbyists which prevents government from operating in the manner envisioned by the Founding Fathers (who the Right constantly praises and invokes to pad their jingoistic patriotism). If the Founders were present today, I’m certain that they would loathe those who construct false political interpretations and unagreed upon norms for the sake of political opportunism.
But really, how can you explain any legal concept to vacuous bigots?