Justice Denied

Justice Denied.jpg

I have watched with considerable dismay the degeneration of the advise and consent process in the Senate. That degeneration is especially troubling when it comes to nominations to the courts. Both parties share the blame for this, but the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the ill-advised decision to deny a well-qualified and decent man like Merrick Garland even the common courtesy of a hearing and a vote.

That led to a predictable tit for tat filibuster against nominee Neil Gorsuch, and that appears to be leading to the nuclear option and the obliteration of the last barrier to total partisan tyranny. Republicans have the power to stop this before it’s too late. Sometimes the best way forward is to step back from the brink.

In this case, that would require acting with common sense and courage, both of which seem to be tragically lacking in Congress these days. Instead, our representatives act like barbarians dividing the spoils after a battle. But politics is not, or at least ought not be, the art of war; it ought to be the art of compromise. And there is a perfectly sensible and ultimately profitable compromise at hand.

The Senate ought to put the nomination of Gorsuch on hold and request that the president nominate Merrick Garland to the Court; and once nominated, the Senate ought to confirm him without delay.

That would not only be the honorable thing to do, it would be good politics in the long run. It would paint Republicans as wise statesmen, and it would put intense pressure on Democrats to approve Gorsuch to fill the next vacancy. That vacancy will happen soon enough, given that three current judges are of an advanced age. Indeed, some of them might be more inclined to retire sooner, if they thought the nomination and confirmation process had not descended into just one more partisan political hell.

Such a magnanimous gesture would do a great deal to restore order to the confirmation process. Once order was restored, the Senate could insure stability and restore faith in the courts by requiring an even larger super majority, say 75 votes, for any and all future lifetime appointments. Such a requirement would dramatically increase pressure on a president to nominate candidates close to the political and judicial center. And that is where all justices should come from.

And speaking of where judges come from, it might also be helpful if candidates were chosen from other than a handful of law schools. Consideration should be given to candidates whose real-world experience isn’t limited to the law. Surely, there are accomplished people in other fields of endeavor who have the common sense and wisdom to sit in judgment.

©2017 Tom Cordle

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2 Responses to Justice Denied

  1. chicagoguy14 says:

    Yes!

    Like

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