In an election year, where almost everything that we hear is comedy gold for personalities like Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert, a good deal is being thrown out in public that can make almost everyone cringe. Claims are put together almost as if a candidate is reaching for those small “word magnets” that you see on a refrigerator and combining them into sentences. The humorous part about it is: people are falling for it!
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend, we are seeing politicizing going to a new low. Just after the announcement, Republicans and Democrats started clawing at one another when it came to filling this seat. Republicans, not wanting to lose control of the conservative values that have dominated the courts for years, have stated that there should not be a replacement named until the new President takes office. Democrats, citing the Constitution, have stated that President Obama should be allowed to nominate someone this year.
Through all of this political pander taking place over this the past few days, we are seeing statements, posed as facts, being made about the nomination process. During the Republican Debate over the weekend, Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson initially stated that there is no provision in the Constitution that allowed the President to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court, which was later clarified. Ted Cruz claimed that there was no one ever confirmed during an election year during that same debate when, in fact, Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed and seated in 1988. That year was President Ronald Regan’s last year, also an election year.
Iowa’s own senator, Charles Grassley (Rep.), has stated that is has been a standard practice that no one has been nominated or confirmed over the past 80 years (see previous paragraph). It is hard to believe that something has been a “standard practice” all during that time when that one person has only worked at the federal level for half of that time.
Regardless of anything stated to this point. It is an absolute shame that people would steep so low to use a death for political gain, to gain a seat in the highest office in the United States. Yes, President Obama has a constitutional right to nominate someone for Justice Scalia’s seat. Yes, Republicans can fight the nomination all year until the new President takes office, whomever that may be.
But the nationwide implications are massive. The court is to convene again soon to hear cases regarding abortion, provisions in the Affordable Care Act and more, that the one vacancy could kick these cases back to the original decisions made at the lower level. But candidates would never tell you that, they are too busy overselling a false representation of how the laws of the land work.
What is all too scary about this, though, is that there are those watching all of this take place believing that what is being said is true: that no one can be nominated/confirmed during an election year, that the Constitution does not allow the President to nominate a candidate and, most of all, that the President’s potential candidate would take away all of the values that make this country what it is.
Just like a snake oil salesman, cures are offered to mask the actual problem. The problem, however, is that these cures do not allow the pure values of this country to shine. And the disease that is striking the political system could cripple that what makes us free. All for the purpose of showing who is better than the other.