Ok- I got it wrong. I looked over the 3 nominations on Obama’s Supreme Court short list- and thought it would be Sri Srinvassen, because he was young and outstanding in every respect. Obama liked the oldest on the list- Merrick Garland, who edged out the competition based on years of experience. Obama just went with the best. And this is exactly what myriad of court watchers are saying.
The judicial system has a kind of ladder, and it’s tough to get to the top rung of the Chief Justice of the Appellate Court for the DC circuit. To get there, you have to get the approval of both Republicans and Democrats. Our system of congressional approval really supports more practical centralist type of judges.
But, the Republicans have made this their holy war, against a “liberal” judge, so Obama selected someone, who in the past was acceptable to many of the Republicans’ top leadership, including John McCain, when he was appointed to the DC Appellate Court.
Garland is regarded by court watchers as a centralist. Judge Andrew Napolitano who appears regularly on Fox News, stated this is the most conservative nominee the Democrats have put forward in the modern era. It is also been stated that some Democrats in the Senate, may feel disappointed by Obama’s nomination because he did not nominate someone with more liberal credentials.
Garland could side with Chief Justice Roberts or Kennedy on court decisions, both of whom were nominated by Republicans. He is likely to be a strong defender of 1st (freedom of speech and religion) and 5th amendment (prohibiting unreasonable searches) rights, as was Justice Scalia.
What is totally absurd is the notion, that by refusing to go ahead with a hearing on the nomination, that this allows “the people of the US” to decide on the nomination. Somehow, to obstruct the normal process of filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court, through refusing to hold hearings, has been lauded by conservative republicans, as in consistent with our democratic ideals of our country.
Pragmatism is not a quality you hear often- but it is vital to the functioning of the Supreme Court. The principle of stare decisis, means justices respect prior decisions as final. This is why decisions are not overturned when new justices are appointed.
The people of the US can vote on many issues- but not Supreme Court judges. And thank God for this. We elect our representatives and leaders to make decisions for us. The makes us a republic. On choosing a Supreme Court justice, it should never come down to a popular judge- or we are all in serious trouble.
In fact, it was the late Justice Scalia, who said the public does not have a sufficient understanding of the law, to be able to follow the logic behind their decisions, which must follow the interpretation of laws and prior decisions. So, the public can not make an inform decision on who would be best for the Supreme Court. This is why we have a Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Congress can reduce the power of the Presidency, by obstructing the normal process of government, but in the end, it makes government less able to function. The #1 obstructionist, is Mitch McConnell, the Senator from Kentucky, and Majority Leader of the Senate.