SCOTUS nominations have become political? Only since Bork.

Because there is a political cost to denying uncontroversial moderate jurists. Heck, there was a political cost to the bork incident and he was nothing close to moderate.

If the vote was held, Garland would likely be confirmed.

So by that logic, we may never see another supreme court justice confirmed. So pretty soon we’ll be down to 7, then 6 and eventually 1 justice on the court. Is this a good result then? Just get rid of the that branch of the government if they can’t all be conservative justices? Is that what the founders intended for the supreme court? For one party to decide that it’s better that it doesn’t exist if it doesn’t do their bidding and give them their way?

Children act this way. I would like to expect better from our elected representatives. Sadly I can’t from that side of the aisle evidently.

Voting against nominees for politics is nothing new. Refusing to hold hearings or a vote is new.

Why don’t these words apply to Bork’s rejection?

Why are you ignoring the distinction between voting against a nominee and refusing to allow a vote on a nominee?

He had hearings, he was voted on, and the vote didn’t go his way.

That’s how the process is supposed to work. Not to hold hearings or a vote at all is refusing to participate in and subverting the process, and is a threat to the existence one of the branches of our government.

You can’t really think these are the same thing can you? Wouldn’t that mean that you are arguing that every time a supreme court nominee is voted down by the senate that it is exactly the same as even refusing to start the process? I have a hard time believing that you actually feel this way. It goes against what I always thought was a great respect you held for the courts and the law. Maybe I was wrong about that and its really just about what’s best for your party.

Of course not. If Obama nominated Judge Michael Luttig, J. Michael Luttig - Wikipedia then the Senate would happily confirm. But he wants a left leaning moderate which is not what the Senate wants. Both sides are unwilling to budge, so why is the Senate the child in this scenario? It could just as easily be the President.

But I reject the idea that either side is acting like a child. As much as Obama wants to push the Court further left, the Senate wants it to remain where it is and have another Scalia in his place. When the Court injects itself into political debate, this is to be expected, and not the fault of the politicians who want their own candidate in that office. The left did it with Bork, and we are doing it with Garland. Nothing new under the sun.

The Senate is acting childish. They have no obligation to vote in favor of a nominee, but it is obligated to hold hearings and go through the process. The voters knew that Obama would be nominating justices, if the voters wanted the second coming of Scalia then they would have voted for Romney. But the voters gave the responsibility to Obama, and it was for a full term, not 3/5 of a term because he’s black.

The left went through the process with Bork and rejected him on his merits. Had Democrats simply said that Reagan had no right to nominate anyone they would have been as wrong as Republicans are today. If Republicans want conservative justices, perhaps they might try nominating better candidates for the presidency.

Well, yes.

Except that despite my personal preferences, I do believe Obama is in the right (ha!) here, and the Senate acting wrongly.

Elections have consequences. Wisely or not, we elected Obama as the President. He gets to pick the justives. The Senate should not have rejected Bork, and should not be rejecting Garland. Both were qualified. I don’t agree there’s a huge distinction between failing to vote, and voting down – primarily political cowardice in the present situation stemming from a worry that the vote will suceed and a worry that a negative vote will be campaign fodder for the next opponent each such senator faces. But ultimately, both side do it, and both times it’s wrong. I say this now, and I’ll say it when a GOP president is blocked. But the difference is that when I say it then, I’ll be accused of being a mindless partisan. The motives that animated THIS post will be forgotten, or simply “forgotten.”

Again, why is that an important distinction? The Senate may set its own rules according to the Constitution. A majority of Senators may force a vote if they so choose. How?

Step one: A Senator is recognized and moves that the question on the confirmation of Garland be taken.

Step two: The chair rules the motion out of order because it is not germane to the debate at hand (whether a post office in Minnesota should be named after Prince).

Step three: The Senator appeals from the decision of the chair. A majority may then vote that his motion is in order and proceed to vote.

If there is a majority, a vote will be taken. Even if it isn’t, the Senate may set its own rules. If it says that the majority leader or the judiciary committee chairman may scuttle a nomination out of hand, then them’s the rules. A majority may change those rules.

Because after Bork was rejected, Anthony Kennedy also get a vote and was accepted. So clearly there was no danger that the seat would never be filled. This is different from the current situation where the Republicans have made it clear that they no longer consider making nominations to the supreme court to be one the the presidents powers thus leaving no way to fill a vacancy.

You’ve named the man who is literally the most conservative judge in the country not already sitting on the Supreme Court. That’s your idea of compromise? Complete and total surrender?

Garland is a reasonable compromise candidate. His nomination shows the President’s willingness to compromise. The Senate’s refusal to give Garland a hearing shows their unwillingness to accept any compromise.

The Republicans are playing with fire. They deserve to get their fingers burnt. They’ll play their petty game and they’ll lose the opportunity to get Garland on the court. Instead they’ll get President Clinton’s nominee.

Regardless, if the American voters return these guys to office, they give tacit support to these tactics and speaking personally, I’ll be a lot less sympathetic to their complaints.

Then vote him down. Then it would be the same, and would actually be how the process is supposed to work. I reject your claim that the two scenarios are identical.

Obama did his job. He nominated a middle of the road compromise justice. How is that the same as the senate not doing its job, holding its breath and refusing to even talk to the guy? Why won’t the senate just vote him down then if that’s how they feel? Why do you think they won’t even hold a vote if he is so contemptible? What are they so afraid of?

What is the end game here then if not to just get rid of the court. How do you see this playing out?

What would you do if your kid was refusing to talk or cooperate until they got their way? Would you just give in, or hold your ground? I have a feeling you would not accept this behavior. Your partisan bias is clouding you here, that much is obvious.

Nahh. And I’m pretty that you’d agree that if Obama were to nominate, say, Ray Gruender or Steve Colloton from the 8th Circuit, or Don Willet from the Texas Supreme Court, the Republicans would quickly approve.


Yes, the Senate can do it. The Senate can do a lot of things that it’s never done before. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not new – refusing to hold hearings or a vote is a brand new thing. I think it’s a bad brand new thing, since it completely abrogates any responsibility, even if it’s not, strictly speaking, unconstitutional. It’s bad because it sets a new precedent that further increases partisanship and politics for future nominations, making it more likely that future nominees will be more political, not less. Especially when the President nominated a moderate, not an ideological judge.

If the Senate won’t hold a hearing for even non-ideological nominees, then Presidents won’t be motivated to nominate moderates and non-ideological nominees in the future.

I respect that opinion, and throughout history, the Senate has generally deferred to the President’s choice of nominees. But nothing in the text of the Constitution makes that mandatory. Yes, elections have consequences, and in 2014, the voters elected a Republican Senate.

Why can’t the Senate “advise” the President that it wants Luttig as the next Supreme Court Justice? Why couldn’t the Senate in 1987 “advise” President Reagan that it wanted Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a Justice?

Scalia said it best in his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (paraphrasing) that as long as people know that the Court is just doing lawyer stuff in Washington, then all that matters is that the nominee is qualified. If they are enacting policy (see Roe, Casey, Lawrence, Obergefell, and to be fair to the left, Citizens United) then the people, through both the President and the Senate, have the right to take any procedures to ensure that their favored side is represented on the Court.

We are both lawyers. We have both taken an oath to support the Constitution, and I think we both agree that judges should take a fair role as umpire. If the confirmation process is unseemly, it is only because the Court has made it so through its own activism by not being an umpire, but by writing the Rules of Major League Baseball. When that happens, the people have every right to weigh in on these choices.

Underline added. That sure seems like a huge distinction to me. The difference between saying, “I don’t find the nominee qualified and I’m willing to let the voters evaluate my vote,” and “I’m going to plug my ears, cover my eyes, and hope this problem goes away without anyone mentioning me or my position.”

Bricker, you honestly don’t think Bork’s involvement in Watergate disqualifies him for the highest court in the land? Both his superiors refused to fire the Special prosecutor. There can be no doubt he knew he was helping in a cover up. His actions were deemed illegal. His posthumously published memoirs admit he was promised a Supreme Court seat for doing it. I must say I am surprised that in retrospect you would say he should have been confirmed.

After all the threads we’ve had on this subject, I’m surprised there are people who still think that is true. Link