LETTER: Filling Scalia’s Supreme Court seat


To the editor:

It’s not so much what they do, rather, it’s how they do it. I agree with Robert Lee on April 15: Neil Gorsuch is well-qualified for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. So is Judge Merrick Garland. Each man appears even-tempered and well-versed in the law; neither is a dangerous ideologue who would harm our nation. What matters — partially ignored by Mr. Lee — is how the late Justice Scalia’s seat was filled.

Had it been Senate Democrats, rather than Republicans, who declared a president not qualified to appoint a Justice during an election year, I suspect Mr. Lee would have howled plenty of outrage through his columns. I would have agreed, as no thinking scholar has parsed such nonsense from our constitution.

Mitch McConnell and his GOP minions rolled the political dice that both Mr. Trump, and enough Republican Senate candidates, would win their elections.

Enough voters showed up (or sat at home) on Nov. 8 to legitimize McConnell’s strategy. Elections matter, as the GOP seemed to ignore with President Obama, and as Democrats should now be patriotic enough to accept.

Though maligned by Mr. Lee, Harry Reid probably did the nation a favor, in 2013, by eliminating the filibuster for nominations other than to the highest court. Delays and attempted blocks of both Bush and Obama nominees were reaching levels not good for our judicial system.

McConnell’s gamble continues, however, with the elimination of filibusters for all presidential nominations. Will the GOP hold the White House and Senate after 2020? Consider the three best hopes for further Trump picks to the high court. Feisty Ruth Ginsburg seems determined that Mr. Trump not replace her; Anthony Kennedy seems to relish his role in determining historic decisions; and Stephen Breyer was healthy enough to author a book recently.

So, how long until Mr. McConnell’s dice roll “snake eyes?”

Douglas Smith

Rockingham

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