Both political parties are denigrating judicial respect
October 9, 2020
In just a few days time the Senate Judiciary Committee and then the Senate will convene to begin its constitutional mandate to debate and vote on the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This will be the third nominee to come before the Senate during the Trump Administration. Two previous confirmation hearings have been held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively for Associate Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.
During the Gorsuch confirmation hearings, Democrats tried to deny him a seat on the Court, despite his undisputed qualifications and integrity, by using the then Senate Filibuster Rule, requiring a 60-vote majority for a confirmation vote.
The attempt by the Democrats to use the filibuster was to avenge Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader’s immediate and unconstitutional rejection of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Declaring that the Garland nomination was “null and void” for coming in the last year (2016) of President Obama’s second term, he refused to allow a confirmation hearing, and contended that the seat should be left vacant pending the inauguration of a new president.
Not affording the sitting president his constitutional right to present his otherwise qualified nominee for confirmation, and supported in that decision by the Republican majority in the Senate, was a blatant disregard of constitutional responsibility, and demonstrated disrespect by the Republican Party for the democratic process.
Ultimately, by invoking the “nuclear option” which only required a simple majority vote, the Gorsuch nomination was confirmed. The futile attempt by the Democrats to defeat an otherwise qualified nominee was a blatant disregard of constitutional responsibility and demonstrated disrespect by the Democratic Party for the democratic process.
The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings quickly degenerated into a political circus when suddenly and suspiciously, unprovable accusations of sexual misconduct by the nominee, when both the alleged victim and the nominee were teenagers, came before the committee.
From that point, relevancy for the purpose of the hearing, was completely ignored. The undercurrents of political expediency and sensationalism by both political parties quickly drowned out the dignity of the hearings; and demonstrated disrespect for the constitutional purpose of the hearings. In the final analysis, the hearings revealed a blatant disregard of constitutional responsibility and disrespect by both the Democrat party and the Republican party for the democratic process.
Now with the Barrett nomination to the Court pending, the political party battle lines were drawn even before a nominee was announced. The unknown nominee was arbitrarily and unanimously rejected by the Democrat Senators on the committee. This was quickly followed by the rejection of the unnamed nominee by all 47 of the senatorial Democrats.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, together condemned the president before knowing the name of his nominee or her qualifications; and their Democrat colleagues fell in line with their leadership. Joe Biden chimed in that the attempted nomination was an “abuse of power.” Pelosi threatened impeachment (again) to delay the nomination.
The Democrats deserve the same condemnation as that of their Republican peers in 2016 in trying to deny the president his constitutional right to make the appointment and submit it to the Senate for confirmation.
Every judicial nominee, especially for one of the highest judicial positions in the nation, must have an opportunity to assure the American people through the confirmation process, that he or she will set aside his or her personal religious faith, ideology and political leanings. He or she must testify under oath that he or she will judge the cases that come before the Court with impartiality, with respect for, but not rigid adherence to precedent, and for consistency in interpreting the Constitution ordained by the American people and the permissible laws enacted by the Congress and signed by the president.
Judge Barrett should have that opportunity to face the Senate and be granted or denied confirmation based on her experience, intellect, scholarship, judicial temperament, integrity, and honesty.
Both political parties have failed the American people and have added to the divisiveness afflicting our country. They have denigrated the judicial branch of government and incited the people.
Mistrust of government is sometimes unhealthy. Mistrust of justice is always dangerous.
If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at email@example.com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.
Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.