Is The Selection Of A Supreme Court Justice Really Worth All This Political Effort?

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Long overdue need to fill former Justice Scalia’s spot… and let’s get on with real business.

Ok.. I know some of you reading that might be speculating whether or not I’ve recently purchased medical marijuana or if I am truly serious.  Trust me I am not inhaling.  But all this political nonsense and news coverage about the Gorsuch appointment, to me, is just simply time consuming garbage.  We’ve already gone through all

this political harangue with the House trying to posture their respective political preferences toward repeal & replace Republican healthcare.  Here’s my frustration with all this (not that you asked).

The Supreme Court is absolutely a critical part of who we are as America and Americans.  These are the folks who interpret the constitutionality of the rules, decrees, and laws passed by the other two parts of government.  But here’s an odd quirk that the Founding Fathers put into the appointment system.  We, the people, vote for our president.  We, the people, vote for our members of Congress.  We, the people, do NOT vote for our Justices (in fact, few understand this, but having been a lawyer or a judge is NOT a requirement for serving as a Supreme Court Justice – don’t tell Trump that).  This is done to reduce the effect of politics entering into the process.  Electioneering is a political process, and exactly how would one run for a Court Justice anyway.  It’s “bad” enough most voters just see a name on a ballot under a party affiliation and vote that way for local judges.  How does one evaluate their record?

But.. the selection process is still a political process, and certainly more so in recent decades.  I mean, the only reason Justices are evaluated… yes, for their excellence in juris prudence.. but it’s for their perspective on contemporary important issues.  Of course, in past decades the most important reason we want to select a Supreme Court Justice is their view on Roe v. Wade and LGBT cases.  At present, some in the Senate are bemoaning the fact that the current candidate, Gorsush, has failed to surrender his opinions or feelings toward these issues.  Oh shucks.

Here’s a question… do we really want our Justices to interpret constitutional law based on their individual interpretation of the Bible or some other personal religious doctrine, rather than only the laws as written in their relationship to the Constitution?  I don’t.

Now, a democracy is no way perfect and the Constitution itself as written back in the day was considered an ambitious grand experiment in a new kind of democracy.  So, like most things in life there are some hypocrisies as there are with any ideology.   I think this selection process for Supreme Court Justice was intended to be a far more independent, less political process than it has turned out being.  Consider this… we all want our Justices to render perfectly objective judgments and Constitutional interpretations according to impartial application of law…… BUT, according to the way we individually  believe; a bit of an oxymoron.  Liberal, moderate, conservative, we all want our Justices pigeon-holed into one of those categories so that we can readily see what Justice will render decisions “our way”.  The whole selection process IS political.

That makes me question the Founding Fathers (and yes, as Americans, we should do that, after all, the Court does that all the time)… ok, guys, you want the sitting president to make the appointment and the Senate to approve.  What’s the criteria?  What were your expectations for a criteria?  The bottom line is that there’s nine people making decisions based on their own interpretations of law in which the result of their voting becomes a basis for future application of law.

But those nine people are also just plain human (sorry if that burst your bubble).  They are subject to changing personal opinion as we all do as we evolve through life.  A Justice could start out moderate yet evolve to conservative over time; no guarantees in life.  The Justices are serving for life, or until they choose to retire.  So then everyone plays the political game like cardinals do appointing a Pope in the Vatican.  Those cardinals are not stupid.  Vote for an older guy so that if he turns up a lemon he won’t last so long; a lesson learned for hundreds of years.  Presidents appoint middle aged people so that their “impartial” influence on the bench lasts longer… much to the chagrin of the opposing party.  It’s a damn game that’s all about trying to maintain a political party’s status quo.  The crazy part is that the Court prides itself on physically keeping themselves away from any sort of public scrutiny of the individual Justices, the Court itself, their lives and routines inside the Court, certainly no press.. all in an effort to give the appearance of being non-partial… yet in some form that’s how they got appointed to begin with… being partial in some way.

Justices are also a reflection of the times in which they serve.  Public mood affects their decisions, current events (like war) affects their decisions, current morality affects their decisions.  Which is pretty much why I tend to frustratingly say.. who cares who you approve (the President or Congress).  Make sure the person is vetted properly and has the intellectual legal acumen and experience sitting in judgment, then approve them.  I will accept that.

But <sigh>… that’s how it is.  I don’t have to like it… yet I do pledge allegiance to it.  But there really are more important issues in the world, and domestic business to tend to, other than spending huge amounts of time politically posturing over a selection of a Supreme Court Justice, that should have been done a year ago (having left the country’s checks & balances shortchanged all that time).

Carry on, America.

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8 thoughts on “Is The Selection Of A Supreme Court Justice Really Worth All This Political Effort?

  1. We also have a Supreme Court here, but the way it is selected, and its operation, is a little different to the way it works over there. I don’t know the names you mention, but I do agree that accepting human interpretations is right. Whatever the rules governing procedure, we can never totally eliminate the personal opinions of those on that panel.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. ~thumbs up~ I agree that his religious convictions have nothing to do with the position….this has become a manure heap ever since Reagan and all the cultural BS that surrounded that GOP…the justice must remember that the words are “We the people” not “I the individual”…..interpret the Constitution as is not as he wants it to be. Well done….chuq

    • While I admire the anti-Trump blog effort they are doing, although not a ton of detail in there unless one joins, I suppose. I get a little apprehensive getting too deep into something with a name like “The Resistance Party”. Sounds a little subversive to me; like I have a stash of weapons hidden in a giant wine barrel in the basement or something.. Being an old marketing guy a good title can be very effective in selling a product or idea. I don’t happen to view my opinions as a form of political “resistance” actually. More “defiant” I suppose given Trump has the bully pulpit now. But “The Defiant Party” doesn’t ring well either. “Tea Party”, while a cute play on words/event, is dorky for a real party name. “Libertarian” is not bad, although it’s taken. “The Progressive Party” might be acceptable but current application is Liberal.
      “The Woodpecker Party” kinda has that frontier, backwoods, Daniel Boone thing going for it. Oh well.

      • See I like the name…kinda sets them apart from liberals and progressives….as an old radical…I hate that progressive is synonymous with liberal/Dem…actually they are different political beasties. How about the Herbal Tea Party….already used but cute…LOL We already have a Modern Whig Party so that is out….I like Bull Moose…but that has been used also…oh well back to coffee and reading…have a good day….chuq

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