Supreme Court is supposed to be non-partisan
With all the hubbub over President Donald Trump’s announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nomination Monday night, one would think that the nine justices who preside over this nation’s highest court are akin to absolute monarchs — kings and queens who determine everything about our daily lives.
You have heard ad nauseum over recent days since Justice Anthony Kennedy — the man who often found himself to be the swing vote in close decisions — announced his impending retirement at the end of the month.
Within minutes of Kennedy’s decision being released, it seemed like everyone and their brother on both sides of the aisle had a checklist of what they want or don’t want in a justice, all before Trump had even had time to formulate any idea of who may be worthy of nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has all but ensured a confirmation vote would take place before the midterm election this fall while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called on Democrats everywhere to do everything possible to stymie Trump’s nominee.
All this before Trump even revealed his choice Monday.
Perhaps now more than ever, we (and most especially the members of the U.S. Senate who now have the power to confirm or deny Kavanaugh) need a refresher on exactly what the role of the Supreme Court is.
The nine who sit on the high court are supposed to settle disputes of constitutionality, most often when two or more lower court rulings appear to contradict one another, or settle issues between two or more states or the federal government and a state. They are to apply the Constitution fairly and without regard to where that ruling may fall on the conservative-liberal spectrum.
If the court is to remain the arbiter of our nation’s constitutional crises, the thought process of appointing someone to it shouldn’t begin with a conservative or liberal litmus test. It should begin with whether this person is qualified to be a justice and whether they will apply the law fairly to everyone.
It is not to serve as political activists who will force a liberal or conservative viewpoint upon America for decades.
The Supreme Court is the one branch of our government that is supposed to be non-partisan. The Founding Fathers recognized this. It’s for that very reason that Supreme Court justice is not an office won in an election.
But unfortunately, both parties have tried for years to “stack the deck” with relatively young justices of the president’s and the Senate majority party’s preferred political flavor, taking full advantage of their life terms by having as many years of potential service from each justice as possible.
We as a nation must demand better.
We need our senators and president — both currently and with all future Supreme Court appointments — to worry less about politics and more about justice.
This is not to say that Kavanaugh is not qualified. This is not to say that Kavanaugh is qualified. We don’t yet know either way.
But the only questions that need to be asked of Brett Kavanaugh should pertain to the justice’s qualifications, the ability of that justice to rule impartially and the ability of that justice to be free of outside influence of his or her decisions.
Senators of both parties would do well to keep this in mind once confirmation hearings begin.