Party politics following Justice Scalia’s death have been disheartening

To the Editor:

It is disappointing to see how party politics has become the norm in our country. Within hours of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Republican leaders in the Senate and the Republican presidential candidates were all stating that they would not support any nominee put forward by President Obama without even knowing who it would be.

Certainly there can be many concerns regarding who will replace Justice Scalia, but for someone who interpreted the Constitution to mean what was written at the time of the founding of our country, it is almost laughable that Republican senators have raised all sorts of false issues to explain away their purely political decision. They are betting that there will be a Republican president in the White House in 2017 so that their party will be able to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice.

It appears that they would rather have turmoil in the court this year with decisions having to be re-argued, or simply upholding lower court decisions than have the Supreme Court actually be able to perform the responsibilities outlined in the Constitution. Now some Republican senators are changing their story and may support having hearings on a nominee, but our senator has not made that decision.

I am disappointed that Sen. Ayotte was one of the first Republican senators to announce that the president should not put forward any nominee nor would she support any nominee put forward to replace Justice Scalia. For someone that promotes herself as "bi-partisan" and who "works across the aisle" this action shows that is not the case. Maybe on minor issues she is bi-partisan but right now she was one of the first Republican Senators to toe the party line put forward by House Majority Leader Sen. Mcconnell.

I don’t agree with the idea that the country needs to wait over a year to have a full complement of Supreme Court Justices. I would respect Sen. Ayotte more if she just admitted that this is a purely political decision without any basis in the constitution. By doing that she is being honest with her constituents, and then they can determine if her actions are reasonable and non-partisan. It seems that she feels what is important to the Republican party is more important than what is important to our country.

Richard B Friedman, MD