By Michael Todd
In the constitution, the President is elected to a full term of four years, not three. That is why the current rhetoric coming from the left is without merit. In the past, when senators voted to approve a Supreme Court nominee, the parties selected specific rules to ensure fairness. As a result, the guidelines called for a 60 vote majority, which gave the minority party a participating role in the process through a filibuster. But this decorum would not last when democrats decided to change the rules to a simple majority of 51 votes. They did this to expand the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals into a majority Democrat-controlled court. What made this an appalling act was it destroyed the long-standing agreement not to add judges to the eight justice D.C. Circuit Court. Because of that shameless move, Democrat complaints are falling on deaf ears.
With the passing of Ruth Batter Ginsberg, the President and Senate must fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. With its vital importance to our government’s operation, the position must be filled to prevent a constitutional crisis. There is also no such law nor precedent preventing Republicans from appointing the next Supreme court Justice. If the shoe were on the other foot, Democrats would nominate and vote for a Justice immediately.
History is on the side of Republicans filling Ginsburg’s seat, and it wouldn’t be inconsistent from them holding by Justice Antonin Scalia set open in 2016. Mitch McConnell explained that when that throughout history, when the same party controls both the Presidency and the Senate, the President gets to fill Supreme Court vacancies. That also means regardless of it being a presidential election year or a lame-duck session after a defeat; it is within the President’s full rights to fill those vacancies.
To understand how Washington D.C. works, one must recognize the rules that administer power. You have laws and norms that dictate the traditional application of control. Laws that allocate power are supreme and can not be infringed. Norms, on the other hand, are agreements that dictate decorum between the two parties. When the Democrats changed the rules to benefit themselves, they broke norms and shattered decorum in the Senate.
Historically in presidential elections, there are 29 instances where a Supreme court vacancy has arisen during a presidential election year or in a lame-duck session before the subsequent presidential inauguration. In every case, the President made a nomination to the court. The situation we find ourselves in is not a new one. Still, due to the breaking of established norms between the two parties, politics has devolved into a free for all where disagreements cannot be resolved peaceably. So we are gifted with endless rhetoric and baseless claims meant to confuse voters.
Senate Republicans should act within the law and vote for the President’s Supreme Court Justice nominee. They would also not be discarding traditional norms when maintaining their constitutional responsibilities. Precedent is on the side of Republicans in this fight, and it would benefit them not to abdicate responsibility by changing historical practice.