Mon Mar 20, 2017, 10:05 PM
babylonsister (152,988 posts)
Russ Feingold: If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won't recover
If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won't recover
Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. The consequences are staggering
Russ Feingold was a 16 year member of the US Senate Judiciary Committee
Russ Feingold: "Judge Gorsuch might be qualified. He might be a fine judge. But the vacancy on the supreme court does not belong to him."
Monday 20 March 2017 06.00 EDT
Last modified on Monday 20 March 2017 14.15 EDT
While Russia’s involvement in our elections is unquestionably horrible, and it will likely take many more drip, drip, drips before we know the full extent of it, our democracy is facing an equally devastating threat much closer to home.
On Monday, when Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin, the Republicans will attempt to complete their cynical political takeover of the US supreme court, launched last year when they failed to confirm or to even give a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland.
Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. Already, the legitimacy of the supreme court has taken a severe blow because of it. But, if Gorsuch is confirmed, it would lock in a dangerous precedent from which the legitimacy of our highest court might never recover.
Republican senators abandoned their constitutional responsibilities and blocked Judge Garland’s nomination last year, for 293 days, leaving the court without a deciding vote on critical issues. They offered no legal justification for their actions, fully admitting that their sole intention was to orchestrate a coup of the supreme court by betting that a Republican would win the White House.
Some even pledged to keep the seat vacant for four more years in the event that a Democrat won the White House. The severity of this action and what it will mean for the court if Gorsuch is confirmed cannot be understated.
Confirming Gorsuch would endorse and normalize unconstitutional political games. It would encourage both parties to use and expand this strategy in the future, at the expense of our highest court and its critical role in our judicial system.
This time it was the last year of a president’s term, next it will be the year before midterm elections. It won’t be long before it extends to the whole two-year presidential campaign, amounting to three years of any presidential term where a supreme court seat cannot be filled.
And it is not just the supreme court that will be affected, as the strategy will be used to block appointments to lower courts. This is a slippery slope that ends with decimating the legitimacy of an entire branch of government, and the resulting checks and balances on which our democracy depends.
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