Waiting to fill Scalia’s seat is unconstitutional

Republicans are only Constitutionalists when it’s convenient

By Clay Parlette

As the nation mourns the passing of one of the most iconic justices to ever serve on the US Supreme Court, we are again confronted with the very real actuality that Washington DC is, no doubt, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots. Yes, I went there. I quoted a humorous holiday song about an ugly green monster that tries to steal Christmas. But this time, I’m talking about something much more serious than Christmas—it’s our democracy. To quote the dank majority leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, apparently the constitution is only valid when Republicans are happy with an election outcome. Not even 24 hours after the passing of Justice Scalia and McConnell was in front of all the cameras croaking, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Um, Mr. McConnell? I’m pretty sure the American people did have a voice in the selection of their new Supreme Court justice when they elected our current president to another four-year term; in fact he won his reelection by over five million votes. Therefore, your argument that an environment of Trumpesque politics somehow trumps our most basic and duly followed constitutional practices is completely ludicrous—and you are a goon.

The irony of this unanimous GOP stance of forbidding President Obama from successfully appointing a new justice is that Justice Scalia was most renowned for his original style of constitutional interpretation—that is his belief that the constitution should “mean the same thing in 2013 as its writers intended in 1787.” The original language reads, “He [the president] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint…judges of the Supreme Court.” Even as much as Justice Scalia and Obama were at odds in political ideologies, it seems clear that he would never approve of such an egregious dismissal of this very explicit constitutional guideline. As comedian Samantha Bee put it, “What better way to honor America’s greatest champion of original intent than by wiping your obstructionist ass on the very document he holds so dear?”

Since the American Civil War, no seat has been left vacant on the Supreme Court for as long as McConnell is proposing it be left for. Imagine all the political division our country has experienced since its founding, and yet, we have always been able to make our unique system of government work, no matter how difficult the circumstances. What the GOP Senate is proposing—to make do with an incomplete branch of government until at least next February—is unconscionable, and lowers our government of the modern day to the standards of a period when our country was literally divided in bloodshed. It would be one thing if McConnell and his Senate cronies were alone in making these bold statements—at least then we could deduce the nonsense to a desperate plea for votes in November. But each one of the GOP

candidates for president has also supported this kind of obstructionism. This isn’t the protection of liberty, and it isn’t “listening to the American people.” It’s a tyrannical form of thugocracy under the guise of liberty and “family values.” That’s right. I’m talking to you, Ted Cruz.

No matter who the President is, he or she has a job to do with the collaboration of executive advisers and the Congress to ensure our nation can continue to survive. This system of checks and balances was intended by our forefathers to prevent any one person or branch from becoming too powerful. Today we realize that instead of embracing this intent, Washington has instead opted into a perpetual tug-of-war, in which there may only be one winner. McConnell, you can talk all you want, but until you accept the fact that you must be willing to work with the man whom America chose to be its leader, many will view you for what you have obviously become. You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch.

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