By Mel Pearlman
Everywhere 

Ideology-Wrong standard for Supreme Court confirmation hearings

 


The announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and the current process to appoint and confirm his successor, will further politicize the judicial branch of government if ideology is a primary factor in the confirmation hearings.

This would be contrary to the intent of the founders of our nation who sought to create an independent judicial and nonpolitical buffer between the executive and legislative branches, as the third branch of government. The creation of this judicial buffer was to resolve disputes between and among states and to judicially resolve controversial national issues that would arise in the young republic.

The founders understood that if these disputed national issues were left undecided under the Constitution and the ever developing body of constitutional law, it would create the type of political paralysis and disunity existent today in America and in Congress, where a long running ideological battle has made it more difficult for members of Congress to cross the aisle than it was for George Washington to cross the Delaware.


The American Jewish community, along with many other Americans, have fallen into this ideological trap, simplistically defining each serious issue facing our country as having one truth and no other; and the only correct solution can be found in an uncompromising attitude of winner take all. Compromise has become a “politically incorrect” position.

Rather than focusing on the nominee’s character, judicial integrity, temperament, constitutional scholarship and impartiality, the battle is on to confirm or reject the nominee on ideological grounds, in order to assure predictability of outcomes on pending and future cases that come before the court.

Predictability of judicial outcomes is contrary to every sense of impartiality, due process and equal protection under the law. Appointments to the Supreme Court are lifetime appointments. It is therefore imperative that judicial and constitutional scholars of utmost integrity and impartiality, not influenced by personal ideology, be confirmed by the Senate. Only then will the public be assured that the Justices will be able to objectively deal with pending and unforeseen future issues that are sure to come before the Court during their long tenure.

This is the only way to assure that all matters that are decided by the Supreme Court are decided solely on the factual record in the lower court, are consistent with applicable and constitutionally valid statutes, judicial precedent, and most importantly, the fundamental law of the U.S. flowing from the words of the Constitution itself.


Our country is large and diverse with complex social, economic and political dynamics changing on a continuous basis. Carrying the ideological battle into the Supreme Court confirmation process is counterproductive to solving our nation’s problems; has led to polarization of our body politic in all three branches of our government, has destroyed trust in our public institutions, lessened respect for judicial opinions and is undermining confidence in our ability to govern ourselves in a democratic way.

This is a very dangerous condition which threatens the general welfare and domestic tranquility of the nation, and which makes less secure the Blessings of Liberty to all of us and our posterity, the very principles on which our Constitution was established.

If you wish to comment or respond to any of the contents herein you can reach me at melpearlman322@gmail.com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner. If you wish to respond by ranting and raving, please go into your bathroom, lock the door and shout your brains out.

Mel Pearlman has been practicing law in Central Florida for the past 45 years. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; on the District VII Mental Health Board, as Special Prosecutor for the City of Winter Park, Florida; and on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Research and Development Authority. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors and served as the first Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as its first pro-bono legal counsel.

 

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