April 22, 2019 | 59° F

RUZIECKI: Democrats must stop playing politics with Supreme Court

Opinions Column: Conscience of a Co-Ed

Ever since the death of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia, there has been a battle for the ages over his vacant seat on the bench of the most esteemed court in all the land. On March 16, former  President Barack Obama nominated the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Merrick Garland. “He’s a moderate!” The left said in an attempt to justify filling Scalia’s seat with a man of activist judicial interpretation. What a slap in the face that would have been to one of my legal heroes, Antonin Scalia, and what a travesty that would have been for the Supreme Court, and the rule of law. Thankfully, in a shocking turn of events, the Republicans found their backbones and denied Merrick Garland a hearing to become the next Supreme Court associate justice.

As per usual, the left did what it could in the era of President Donald J. Trump. So they screeched and howled at the moon until someone paid attention to them. They charged the Republicans with “obstructing the judicial process,” and claimed that seat belonging to Merrick Garland was “stolen.” I’m not exactly sure how a seat that never belonged to someone could be stolen, but I’ll pity them for humor’s sake. There are many reasons why this is not true. The GOP did not “steal” this seat from Garland as many on the left believe they did. While Garland’s instance was rare, it has happened before in United States history. That is, the Senate failed to confirm a nominee in an election year by a president of the opposing party. Claims that this seat was stolen are rooted in hyper-partisanship and a lack of understanding of the great legislative body known as the Senate. Not shockingly, it didn’t stop there. “But he didn’t even get a hearing!” Hearings for judicial nominees are relatively new in American history, as the Constitution does not say anything about them. Denying someone a hearing based on a long withstanding rule, hardly seems like theft. But that’s not what the Democrats are trying to do. They are still hung up on the notion that Trump’s win was illegitimate. While I am not happy about Trump being elected to the highest office in the land, I accepted the fact that he was elected fair and square, and have moved on to hope that he does a good job as president. Democrats have not, and have continued to obstruct him at every single turn. The United States Supreme Court is not the place to be playing politics — the left, and even some members of the right, do not understand this. What the Republicans did to Garland has been done before, just as former Vice President Joe Biden has stated in the past. During his days as a senator and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, then Sen. Joe Biden said of former President George H.W. Bush in 1992 when there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court, “(Bush should) not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.” He continued, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.” Oops!

In retribution for Merrick Garland, Democrats have vowed to obstruct Trump’s nominee — Judge Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a man of great intelligence and integrity who would serve the court well and is almost directly in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But like clockwork, Democrats have charged him with ridiculous accusations. “He’s too extreme,” “He’s too political!” I have often been dumbfounded by some of the statements that come out of leftists mouth’s, but I was more surprised when freshman Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said, “Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued narrow legalisms over real lives. I cannot support his nomination.” Legalisms, often known as “the law,” should take the back seat to people’s feelings, Harris suggests. I worry for California under her leadership.

The left has a problem with judges who have an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. What they don’t understand is that it is not an interpretation, but the way the Constitution was meant to be read. This is exactly how the founders intended the Constitution to be interpreted, or else it would serve no purpose. Gorsuch is not politically motivated, nor should any judge be. He is someone who interprets the law how it was intended to be read and knows what the job of a judge is. You either interpret the law how it was intended to be interpreted, or you do not deserve a seat on the Supreme Court. It’s that simple.

Louis Ruziecki is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in history. His column, “Conscience of a Co-Ed,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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Louis Ruziecki

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