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Supreme Court on verge of becoming a political court

By Benjamin Haber

In creating a Republican form of government non-existent at the time, while our founding fathers did not agree on everything, they were uniformly intelligent. They created three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judiciary. They recognized the executive and legislative would be political in nature, but not the judiciary, which should adhere to the law impartially, free of ideological and political interference.

To make sure that would be the case, the federal judiciary were given lifetime tenure except in cases of unethical conduct. For most of the time since its inception, the federal judiciary functioned quite well as envisioned. Indeed, there were times when a person nominated to the Supreme Court did not even appear before the Senate, which judged that person’s fitness by examining his legal and judicial scholarship.

Unfortunately, our U.S. Supreme Court is now on the verge of becoming an ideological and political court, contrary to the intentions of our founding fathers and the fault rests squarely on the Republican members of the Senate.

The members of the court are odd in number so as to avoid split decisions, which can at times cause uncertainty in application of the law. Upon the death of Antonin Scalia, President Obama as the sitting president was constitutionally required without undue delay to nominate a replacement. He fulfilled his constitutional obligation and nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a centrist and one of the most qualified persons ever nominated to sit on the court.

Without any impartial considered thought, but strictly on political and ideological grounds, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, announced Garland would not even be given a hearing. McConnell’s absurd justification was that since Obama’s term in office was about to expire with an imminent presidential election on the horizon, the choice for filling the vacancy left by Scalia’s death should be left to the people whose voice will be heard at the election.

Taking McConnell’s words at their literal meaning, it is the “people” who should make the decision, the “people” having given Hillary Clinton over 1 million more popular votes than Donald Trump did speak in support of a Garland appointment to the Supreme Court.

Suffice it to say, McConnell, hell-bent on a political and ideological Supreme Court, will ignore his own words, and let what should be a revered branch of our government be dragged into a legal morass which would have shocked our founding fathers.

Benjamin M. Haber

Flushing

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