Delaying replacing a Supreme Court justice is political and constitutional

To the Editor:

A recent letter to the editor suggested delaying confirming a new Supreme Court justice was political, without basis in the Constitution and not in the interests of the country. Obviously, confirming a Supreme Court justice is political, whether delaying the process or speeding up the process.

A Republican Senate in 2016 is no more obligated to confirm President Obama’s appointments than the Democratic Senate had been when they refused to confirm President Ronald Reagan’s appointments in the 1980s.

Such political hypocrisy is apparently endemic to politics, whether Democrat or Republican. The Republicans bemoaned the imperial Congress during the Reagan administration, but bemoaned the imperial presidency of the Obama administration.

Of course, both are true. The struggle for more power has resulted in both an imperial Congress and an imperial president, at the expense of individual liberty enshrined in the Constitution.

Refusing to confirm a Supreme Court justice appointment is a constitutional prerogative of the Senate. The president … by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … judges of the Supreme Court. There is no requirement to consent and there has been no turmoil in the court when previous Senates did not give initial appointees consent.

The most constitutionally important thing is to have a justice that is unswervingly dedicated to their oath to support the Constitution as the supreme law of the land (i.e., as interpreted by those who wrote and ratified it). If the court does not strictly enforce the Constitution, both the Constitution and the court are irrelevant. Bipartisanship on this precept is imperative, for if the people cannot coalesce around the fundamental law of the country, there can be no country.

Having such a justice nominated by a president that has stated he does not truly believe in or support the Constitution has near zero chance of occurring – his prior appointments have demonstrated such. Republican appointments to the court of such dedicated justices have been extremely inconsistent (e.g., John Roberts). Although odds of getting a true adherent of the Constitution appointed are rather small by delaying, they are better than not delaying.

Otherwise, the Congress, the president and the political parties will continue down the path of ever-increasing imperialism. Nothing less than our individual life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness are at stake.

Eldon L. Rash