Larry Wall, in his letter to the editor on Feb. 17, claimed the Republican Party was trying to prevent President Barack Obama from carrying out his duties. He described the effort to prevent him from “submitting any nomination reeks of Third World tyranny.”
First, let me say that no one has denied the president’s right to nominate a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, much less tried to stop him from doing that. How could anyone stop him from doing that, anyway? Wall describes himself as a freelance writer with “38 years of experience reporting and commenting on political actions,” and he describes the current situation “as one of the worst displays of a political party trying to pack the Supreme Court.”
For a writer as experienced as he claims to be, that is a very naive statement. Perhaps he has forgotten about Franklin Roosevelt’s ill-fated attempt to pack the Supreme Court. Perhaps he has forgotten about the Democratic-controlled Senate in 2007 attempting to deny President George W. Bush from nominating someone by using a Pro Forma session in which no regular business can be conducted. At that time, Bush had 18 months left in office, not 11, as does Obama. But beyond that, he seems to be suggesting that the Senate should be a rubber stamp for any nominee the president puts before them.
Obama has the constitutional right and the duty to nominate a replacement, and the Senate has the constitutional right and the duty to either confirm or reject his nomination. The majority leader of the Senate has the constitutional right to deny a nomination from going to the floor for a vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has the constitutional right to deny a nomination from going to the Senate. No political party is going to sit by and simply allow the balance of the Supreme Court to shift in a direction that is antithetical to its beliefs and its interests, Republican or Democrat. If the only difference in the situation today were that the president were Republican, then the Democrats would be busting their gut to deny the nomination, and the Republicans would be busting their guts to confirm it. And yes, Wall, that is politics. Welcome to the real world.
retired probation and parole agent