It seems historic events have developed in rapid succession over the past few months. Amidst a watershed election and domestic and foreign turmoil, the passage of our next justice of the Supreme Court is set to showcase the current political landscape on Capitol Hill. The nation watches as the next era of American law unfolds, trying to identify where our future is headed.
With President Obama’s recent nomination of Merrick Garland for the opening, the nation can expect the GOP to stomp their feet in protest despite Garland’s good standing with both parties. Certainly, Garland is a left-leaning judge, even more so than justices Kagan and Breyer, and Republicans would naturally rather a more conservative nominee continue Scalia’s legacy. Yet, the halting progress caused by GOP stubbornness has a special significance beyond simple indignation. Perhaps they feel the past eight years have slipped out of their control and are now attempting to rekindle some conservative heat.
Garland, a federal appeals court judge who has more beginner’s experience than most other justices had upon nomination, is a natural pick who would have been confirmed quickly and decisively at any other time. Yet, because of Republican opposition to any and all of Obama’s actions, especially as he steps down, this process could become an exhausting debacle within an even more taxing presidential election. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both proven that their right-winged supporters thrive off the tension and resistance of the federal government.
A large sect of Trump and Cruz supporters are just itching to stall the government in any way possible, and the Senate seems all too eager to grant their wishes. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hopefully send Garland to the general Senate for a confirmation vote, though he will likely amount to little more than a sacrificial lamb. Appearing unassuming and kind-faced, the nominee may potentially be sundered by the abrasive and haughty GOP senators. President Obama appears to have chosen Garland as an appeasement as well, nominating a man whose “centrist” position should be favorable for Republicans. Now the spotlight shines on the right-winged senators who promised to block any nomination Obama submitted. The most beneficial and just course of action is to give Garland their complete and unbiased consideration, though this would require right-wingers to abandon their adamant opposition. With pressing cases to be heard by the highest court in the nation, the United States Supreme Court needs its ninth seat filled with fresh ears and the moxie to propel the court out of stagnancy.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 21 print edition. Email Connor Borden at [email protected]