Jim Denison on Two Reasons the Supreme Court Has Become So Divisive

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Sen. Mitt Romney announced his support for a process whereby the Senate could confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court before Election Day. His statement seems to ensure that a candidate could be confirmed barring missteps by the nominee during the confirmation process.

This process has become extraordinarily contentious for two reasons. One is obvious; the other is less so but even more fundamental to our nation and her future.

Why the Republicans will nominate a candidate 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia were known as fierce advocates for liberal and conservative philosophies, respectively. However, Justice Ginsburg was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by a vote of 96–3; Republican leaders Bob Dole and Mitch McConnell voted for her. Justice Scalia was confirmed in 1986 by a vote of 98–0; Democrat leaders Al Gore, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Joe Biden voted for him.

That was then; this is now.

When Merrick Garland was nominated by President Barack Obama for the Supreme Court following Justice Scalia’s untimely death in 2016, the Republican-led Senate refused to consider his candidacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that not since the 1880s had the US Senate considered an election-year Supreme Court candidate put forth by a president from the opposition party.

When Justice Ginsburg died last Friday, Sen. McConnell quickly announced that the Senate would consider a candidate put forward by President Trump, since both the Senate and the White House are led by the same party. Nonetheless, many have condemned his decision as hypocrisy, given that this is once again an election year.

Critics are also claiming that there is not enough time before the November 3 election to investigate a candidate appropriately. However, of the 163 nominations in US history to the Supreme Court, more than half were formally nominated and confirmed within forty-five days. Justice Ginsburg’s process took forty-two days; Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed in thirty-three days.

To this point, it might seem that I am defending Republicans against Democratic charges of hypocrisy and unfairness. In the interest of fairness, it is plausible to suggest that if the roles were reversed, many Republicans would be saying the same of Democrats that Democrats are saying of Republicans.

Therein lies my second point.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison