A critique of Republican leadership concerning Judge Merrick Garland
Merrick Garland may become on of the most controversial Supreme Court nominees in American History. Why? Because he’s a perfect candidate nominated at a far from perfect time in American politics.
On Feb, 12, 2016 Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his sleep. Scalia was a bastion of conservative thinking on the Supreme Court and served with honor for 30 years. After his death, it then became the duty of President Barrack Obama to nominate a successor to Scalia. Right? Wrong.
Almost immediately upon the death of Scalia, Senate republicans announced that they would not meet with any potential candidate appointed by President Barrack Obama. Led by majority leader Mitch McConnel, (R-KY) Republicans insist that since Barrack Obama is in his last year of office, he ought to allow the responsibility to fall to whoever is elected president this year. McConnel and his band justify their inaction by claiming they are following “The Biden Rule,” named for Vice President Joe Biden.
“The Biden Rule,” stems from a speech that then Senator Biden made before congress 24 years ago. Senator Biden stated that if a vacancy appeared on the Supreme Court in an election year, the current President should hold off on naming a candidate until after- wards. Biden then went on to say that if the President put forth a consensus, neutral candidate, that he would be happy to consider him or her.
You know what, Senators, I get it. Scalia was a conservative justice, and you don’t want the balance of the Supreme Court to lean farther left than it already is. Taking a speech about a hypothetical situation made by a junior senator 24 years ago is a bit of a stretch to justify yourselves, but I get where you’re coming from. However, since you so strongly insist to merely be following the example of Joe Biden, you would surely consider a neutral, consensus candidate, right? ….right?
Allow me to introduce Judge Merrick Garland, an Illinois native who graduated summa cum laude of Harvard Law School. Garland has had more judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in U.S. history. He has been described as a centrist, a moderate, and the perfect example for an impartial judge. Both Republicans and Democrats in the past have hailed his integrity, honesty, and work ethic.
Despite all of his qualifications, the majority of Senate Republicans still refuse to even meet with Garland. They insist that it’s the principal, not the person that matters.
Senators, I respect your position. If it is truly your belief that the President ought to leave the nominating to his successor, then you should continue pushing the Senate into even more frustrating gridlock. Just be careful.
Be careful, because if you truly believe in this non-existent rule arbitrarily grasped from speech about a hypothetical situation, it may come back to bite you. Hard.
If Hillary Clinton becomes president, she will no doubt nominate someone far more liberal than Garland, and if Donald Trump becomes president… He could very well nominate a statue of himself for all I know.
Already, the pressure is rising on the Republican leadership to end their boycott. Two Republican senators, including Illinois’ Mark Kirk, have agreed to meet with Garland. As the election progresses, McConnel and other senators will begin to realize that they are making a huge mistake.
Senators, I implore you to set aside your political differences and do your job by giving Judge Garland a confirmation hearing. If you don’t consider a qualified, centrist, perfect nominee now because of your stupid “rule,” you could see his spot taken by someone far, far, worse.
—Brandon Grossi, staff writer