GOP: Stop running out the presidential clock

Editorial Featured Opinion Opinion

When Antonin Scalia died on Saturday, Feb. 13, he went from being a Supreme Court Justice to a political football.
In an election year like this, it was to be expected, where any issue can suddenly change the dynamics of the race, but that doesn’t make it right.
Appointing a new Supreme Court Judge shouldn’t be a political issue. It should be a common sense and constitutional idea. Yet, it’s not.
Many Republicans have come out and opposed a replacement for the conservative judge until after the 2016 presidential race. In other words, President Obama shouldn’t get to nominate another Supreme Court Justice.
This is bogus. The President is more than able to nominate anyone he chooses to fill Scalia’s seat, even if it is an election year. Other presidents have done it before, including conservative icon Ronald Reagan. Cutting off the President’s constitutional abilities simply because it’s an election year is wrong and poses numerous problems. Should the President just stop fulfilling his constitutional duties, like signing bills or stop paying attention to national security issues because it’s an election year? I think we know the answer to that.
Also, stalling the nomination process and rejecting the nominee belittles the Supreme Court. It has an important job to do like any other branch of government and it should be able to function to the best of its ability. Right now, with the eight members, split decisions simply affirm lower court rulings and don’t really solve the problems the Court is trying to address. With important cases dealing with the Affordable Healthcare Act, immigration, abortion and even voting before the Court right now, these issues may be prevented from being resolved simply because not enough judges agree one way or the other. Preventing the Supreme Court from being able to carry out its job for political reasons puts politics before the law. The Supreme Court, after all, is supposed to be the most politically neutral branch of government. That’s why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life so they don’t have to be worried about the politics of elections, yet they are this year.
What the Republicans are considering when it comes to the President’s Supreme Court nominee is holding the Court hostage. This isn’t new. They did the same sort of tactic used with the debt ceiling and shut down the federal government.
The Republicans need to stop being the “party of no” and show that it’s a party that shows is capable of governing. Kicking the can down the road is not governing, yet that’s all the Republicans seem capable of doing right now.
So, Senate Republicans (and to the Republican Party in general since it has aspirations for holding the nation’s highest office), do what’s right for the country. Vet the President’s Supreme Court nomination. Evaluate the candidate. And at the end of the day, if they are qualified, approve them. If not, send the nominee back and demand better. But don’t (and I repeat, do not) outright reject the nominee.