The interwebs are ablaze with commentary and editorials decrying Hillary, Trump, or both as Americans are faced with two very depressing options for POTUS in the upcoming November election. Both options are abhorrently terrible from both the left and the right perspective.
Hillary was found, at a minimum, to have repeatedly threatened national security in her time as the United States Secretary of State, putting American lives in danger. Trump on the other hand has shown great contempt for his fellow Republicans, and has even gone on record many times blatantly contradicting his own party’s conservative agenda. Objectively speaking, both Republicans and Democrats should be gravely concerned with their respective nominee. They aren’t though, oddly enough. Most seem to be wholly devoted to their candidate and they are willing to sacrifice their own personal values just so the ‘other one’ doesn’t win. Many seem to overcome this ethical dilemma by touting a greater cause. What cause could be greater than the Presidential race? Supreme Court appointments, apparently.
The first counterargument should be obvious. We have two very liberal Presidential candidates, of which neither is likely to nominate a conservative to serve on the Supreme Court. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt because it is mostly irrelevant anyway as your argument is still significantly flawed.
This may come as a surprise to many people, at least in part based on the sheer number of times I have heard or read this argument, but the POTUS does not appoint Supreme Court Justices – read that last part again. If the POTUS simply appointed Supreme Court Justices our checks-and-balances system of government would be drastically undermined. Correctly stated, the POTUS merely nominates candidates to serve on the Supreme Court. It is the responsibility of the United States Senate to either confirm or reject the nominee. Below is an outline of the process for selecting Justices.
- Nomination: The POTUS chooses a candidate based on many factors, but usually someone who will best serve the interest of his (or her, in our present case) political party.
- The Senate elects a Judiciary Committee.
- The Committee thoroughly vets the candidate by checking his or her background, finances, credentials, etc.
- The Committee then interviews the candidate so that he or she may respond to any questions or criticisms that the Committee might have.
- The Committee then votes on a recommendation to present to the full Senate.
- Senate Floor
- The full Senate debates the nomination once the Committee’s recommendation has been presented.
- Assuming no filibuster, the Senate casts its vote with only a 51 to 49 vote needed to succeed.
- If the candidate wins the vote then the nomination is confirmed. If not, the nomination is rejected.
Simply put, albeit not completely accurate, the Senate appoints Justices to the Supreme Court, not the President. Consider this: Why has Obama not immediately jumped on the chance to replace Antonin Scalia, the ‘Conservative Anchor of the Supreme Court’ (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan), with a left-wing Justice when Scalia passed away in February? Maybe it is because Republicans currently hold a 54 to 45 majority in the Senate and could very well reject his nominee. Furthermore, this is also a Senate election year with 34 seats up for grabs.
It is certainly within the realm of possibility that Republicans will lose that majority in this election. They only hold a 4 seat majority, after all, and losing it means losing control making it very difficult, if not impossible to reject a liberal Justice nominee. Obama is betting on the Democrats winning back that majority, laying out a clear path for the nominee of whichever Democratic candidate wins this next Presidential election. And make no mistake; we have two Democrats running for President.
The battleground for the future prosperity of our great nation lies not with the Presidential election. Rather, it lies with the battle for Senate control. Your argument is invalid, and it only serves to distract voters from the real fight for the Supreme Court.