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Redefining the confirmation criteria for a Supreme Court Justice

On 12 October 2020, I got up and turned a TV on to watch the Senate Judiciary Committee start a hearing to consider the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the committee, started by announcing that each member would make an opening statement. Hearing that, I turned the TV off because I had no doubt that I knew what was going to be said in those opening comments. News reports proved me right. I tuned back a few hours later to hear Judge Barrett’s opening statement and the introduction of her by Patricia O’Hara, former Dean of the University of Notre Dame Law School.  

What I heard and saw in those couple of hours of watching convinced me that Democrats have, on their side, changed the criteria for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices. I managed to tolerate another few hours of watching on 13 and 14 October. Be assured I do not have animus toward Democrats; I just find their actions and intentions dangerous to this country and totally motivated by, through almost any means necessary, the achievement of power.

It is my understanding that the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret and apply the Constitution along with other laws; not to make law or policy. Setting policy and making law is the responsibility of Congress. Senator Ted Cruz made this point very well on 10/14 in an exchange with Judge Barrett. Cruz explained that he favors school choice, but does expect the Supreme Court to find a way to mandate this arrangement; Congress should act on it.

With regard to the role to be played by Congress in considering the nomination of Supreme Court Justices, it is to confirm that nominees are qualified to serve on the Court; not whether they will decide cases in a certain way. This is where I contend Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have changed the rules. I heard nothing from them by way of questioning Judge Barrett’s qualifications. Their whole argument was that, based on her academic writings and public involvement, they contend she will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade (protects a woman’s right to an abortion) and to declare the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) unconstitutional.

Democrats accuse President Trump of nominating individuals for the Court who will vote as he desires. With no proof of this allegation against Trump, Democrats oppose Barrett, not because they see her as unqualified, but because they contend she will vote contrary to the desires of Democrats on some key issues. This position staked out by Democrats is exactly what they allege and condemn in President Trump.

I totally agree with those who say Democrats seek to have the Supreme Court put policies and laws in place that House and Senate Democrats do not have sufficient public support to properly institute through legislation. This condition poses a serious threat to America’s future.

22 October 2020: On this date, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send Judge Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate for action. Interesting.y, all Democrat members of this committee boycotted the vote. None of them showed up. As a tax-paying citizen of this country, I would like to hear some reasoned explanation from Democrats as to what positive impact they expect this boycott to produce for the American people. If you are reading this post and can answer the question, please submit your response.

6 responses to “Redefining the confirmation criteria for a Supreme Court Justice”

  1. john Bantsolas says:

    The Democrats acted like spoiled children by boycotting the vote on Judge Barrett. Shame on them. We pay them too much to tolerate their nonsense.

  2. Dr. Ezra A. Merritt says:

    Why should the Democrats show for the vote when the outcome was already determined. Republicans have more members on the committee and the result is determine by majority vote. And as expected the vote was unanimous. This was done in spite of the committee rule that at least two members of the minority party must be present to conduct the vote. The committee just waived the rule and held the vote. What then is wrong with not attending but demonstrating their displeasure as they did?

  3. Richard Button says:

    When Harry Reid made the change to the rules so that only a majority vote became the means to approve of a Supreme Court Justice, it opened the door for which ever party held the majority to vote a nominee through the process regardless of the objections by the minority party.
    This is exactly what we can expect on any business from Congress if the Democrats win back the Senate and the White House, as they have already said they would end the filibuster.

  4. Anonymous says:

    On the subject of presidential nomination and confermation you speak of the Democrats action as childish tantrums and as power grabbing. The real concern is the hypocrisy of both parties. The Republicans during Obama’s term in office demanded that Obama should not apoint a supreame court justest in his last year in office that the next president should appoint the justices as a show of the people’s choice. The same Republicans are now sayiny that they will confirm the justices before the elections. The same elected republicans in the Senate are doing the opposite of what they complain about 4 years earlier. As for the integrity of these senators is it not corrupt for mc connor to refused to bring to a vote a bill passed by the houses?. What I have seen in government under this presedent and legislation is not the intrest of the people but mostly a power struggle and avoidance of the constitution.

  5. Jerry Reinoehl says:

    Contrary to inaccurate popular opinion, appointments to the Supreme and the inferior courts of the United States are not lifetime appointments.

    Article III, Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

    For “bad” behavior, the removal process is outlined in:

    Article I, Section 2. … The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

    Article I, Section 3. … The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.

    However, judges are rarely impeached and convicted and removed from office.

    Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL20) was impeached and convicted by Congress and removed as a federal judge only to see him become one of them after winning election to the US House of Representatives. The Republican party could not even find a candidate to challenge an impeached federal judge in his 2016 and 2018 reelection bids. This year, Republican Greg Musselwhite, a political novice like President Trump in 2016, is Representative Hastings 2020 opposition.

  6. Ross Brown says:

    Appointments to the US Supreme Court is probably the most important job the President of the US has during his/her tenure. Maybe the use of funds would be well spent to have members of the Judiciary Committee attend classes on their Constitutional responsibility on a regular basis. In most professions it is necessary to have a certain amount of professional development routinely. I think a lot of Americans are fed up with the lack of responsibility of at least a few elected officials.

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