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How lack of cooperation for a Supreme Court nomination is hurting the justice system


The Supreme Court only has eight justices sitting right now, which means split decisions – like the one handed down on Tuesday about union dues – will likely become a more common occurrence. When a decision is split, the case moves back to the lower court and the ruling of the lower court stands – as if the Supreme Court didn’t even see it.

President Barack Obama has nominated a new justice fill late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, but the Senate has been blocking this nomination, preventing the Supreme Court from making important decisions.

The confusion lies here – if the Senate is not actively looking to balance the Supreme Court, how are they doing their jobs? One job of the government is to enforce and apply justice, which is difficult to do with a split court. It is the Senate’s job to confirm Obama’s nominee and their avoidance of the topic means that they aren’t doing their jobs or abiding to their constitutional duty.

If the mailpersons just stopped doing their jobs and everyone stopped receiving mail, there would be immense public outcry. The American people aren’t being served by their government because a group of people is refusing to participate in one element of their job.

Shouldn’t there be the same reaction to the Senate?

Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee, is a moderate Republican. He’s renowned for his equal-handed jurisdiction and has been lauded by both sides of the political spectrum as a genius. He seems to be a perfect replacement for Scalia, who was revered as one of the most influential and opinionated conservative justices to sit on the bench. The Senate’s refusal to give this man the time of day means the political process cannot move forward.

According to the BBC, recently, some Republicans have been folding and agreeing to meet with Garland. Hearings are still not being held, but at least progress is being made.

There is nothing in the Constitution that says Obama cannot make a Supreme Court nomination in his final days in office. He’s allowed to appoint someone and the fact this process is taking so long is only obstructing justice. No one is looking at what’s best for the country, but rather what’s best for their party.

At the same token, if this does get pushed until the next presidency, so be it. The president alone has the autonomy to appoint someone and if the Senate manages to hold it off for another nine months, it will be in the hands of the next president. But, if the presidency falls into the hands of the Democrats again, all of that waiting and delaying will be time wasted.

The important issue here is that the Supreme Court, which receives a very select amount of highly important and influential cases, is unable to operate at it’s most efficient. One third of the government isn’t working up to standards. It’s time to put differences aside and move forward, for our country and for the betterment of our judicial system.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com. 


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