Republicans Shame Scalia’s Legacy

In addition to being the first time many high schoolers cast a ballot, this presidential election cycle will also mark a turning for our country. The two unlikely frontrunners, Sanders and Trump, are on either end of a the political spectrum. 

Upping the anti, the winner will likely nominate two or more Supreme Court Justices, who have a lifetime appointment. Until last week, up to four of the nine current justices were speculated to retire within the next four years. That number recently dropped to three, after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away unexpectedly, throwing Washington into a frenzy.

During his nearly 30 years on the bench, Scalia’s decisions consistently aligned with the interests of conservatives. With decisions so often split 5-4, Scalia served as the right-wing anchor.

According to the United States Constitution, President Obama has the power to appoint Scalia’s replacement, with the “advice and consent of the Senate.” The Republican-controlled Senate, however, is less than willing to cooperate.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Many Republican senators are echoing the sentiment, promising to block any Obama nomination.

Compromise is an essential part of democracy, yet both Democrats and Republicans are too invested in their own agendas to attempt to make any progress in Washington.

The hypocrisy is sickening. Did the American people not have a voice in electing Obama… twice? Furthermore, if Republicans really wanted to respect Scalia’s legacy as an originalist, they would honor the Constitution—not refer to it only when it benefits them. McConnell’s “concern” for the voice of the American people is nothing more than thinly veiled desperation to give Republicans more power in Washington.

In fact, nearly ten years ago, McConnell said the exact opposite in regards to George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominations:

Any President’s judicial nominees should receive careful consideration. . . . It’s time to move away from advise and obstruct and get back to advise and consent. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. [Democrats] want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation. In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators. (States News Service, May 19, 2005)

I’m tired by the incessant need politicians seem to have about rejecting ideas outside of their own parties. Compromise is an essential part of democracy, yet both Democrats and Republicans are too invested in their own agendas to attempt to make any progress in Washington. Senator McConnell should be ashamed of himself.

Automatically dismissing any candidate President Obama might nominate is childish and disrespectful. Attempting to disguise bias as concern for the American people is downright manipulative.

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