Just Listen For A Second: Brett Kavanaugh
Hosted by Jake and Allison
September 30, 2018
The hypocritical game of politics
Sometimes, despite the cheerleaders’ best efforts to bring positivity to our chants, the outbreak of “You can’t do that!” still erupts from the crowd at a Liberty football game.
This discontentment would be especially prevalent if the rules of the game were to suddenly change. Suppose our quarterback recently made a pass toward the only open player. Normally, this would be valid, but this time, the referee decided to write a new rule because the pass was thrown at an invalid time in the game. Under these new circumstances, the pass was considered illegal.
Now, later in the game, the other team has the ball. Its quarterback throws the same type of pass during the same time in the game that Liberty previously attempted. This play is still considered illegal due to the new regulation; but this time, the referee neglects to throw a flag.
The unprecedented outcome of this football game closely resembles the process of approving a Supreme Court nominee in recent years. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. This nomination was like quarterback Obama’s touchdown pass: it normally would have been okay, but Senator Mitch McConnell flagged Obama when he realized the nomination should not be allowed.
Like passing at the wrong time in the game, the nomination occurred during an election year. McConnell argued that it could only occur at a specific time—after the general election in November—to give the people a voice. So, McConnell led a movement in the Senate to boycott the approval of Obama’s nominee, essentially creating a new rule.
Now, Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill another vacancy on the Supreme Court. Trump is like the other team’s quarterback, and his nomination is identical to Obama’s pass, occurring at the same time in the game—during an election year. But with Trump’s nomination, no flag was thrown.
Although not a presidential election, 2018 classifies as an election year because we are voting to fill seats in Congress, including 33 in the Senate. And with power divided equally among the three branches of government, these midterm elections should be considered as influential as presidential elections, especially since the Senate decides whether or not to approve the president’s Supreme Court nominee.
It’s debatable whether this new rule should exist in the first place. But, either way, it is necessary to avoid hypocrisy and apply the same rule to both the game of football and American politics. Trump’s nomination should be declared null, just as Obama’s was, due to its occurrence during an election year.
At this point in the game, we should all be on our feet, hands cupped around our mouths, yelling, “You can’t do that!”
The power of the president
“[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the Supreme Court.” These are words straight from the Constitution of the United States, words written by our founding fathers.
They spell out the imbalance on power between the President and Congress when it comes to the nominations of the Supreme Court. The president holds more. Congress has the right to advise and to reject candidates, but it is the president who nominates and appoints judges to the Supreme Court.
It is for that reason that Congress should proceed with nomination hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It is for that same reason that the refusal of the Senate to hear the nomination of Merrick Garland is not justification for doing the same with Kavanaugh.
At first glance, the comparison seems logical, both nominations occured in an election year, Garland’s in 2016 and now Kavanaugh’s in 2018. However, the difference in election year when regarding power to the supreme court is massive.
During the presidential election, the power of who would nominate and appoint the next judge was in contention between the candidates. Citizens were able to have an almost direct say in what type of judge would be nominated for the Supreme court. That is why Republicans, lead by Senator Mitch McConnell, boycotted hearing Garland’s nomination. They believed that the American people had a right to voice their opinions about who would be nominated by voting in the presidential election.
Now oppositionists to Kavanaugh’s nomination will argue that the two situations are the same, and that Congress and the president have equal power and there the elections should be treated with equal relevance. That is not the case though. When it comes to the Supreme Court judge nominations, the president has more power than Congress.
Calling the Republicans hypocrites and attempting to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until after the election is nothing more than an attempt by some members of Congress to dismiss Kavanaugh’s nomination. In reality, the Senate should be doing nothing more than advising the President, and then confirming his nomination unless serious problems emerge through the confirmation hearings. That is the role spelled out to them by the founding fathers in the constitution.
The key thing to remember is that it does not matter whether you agree with Kavanaugh’s political beliefs, or even if you think he should be approved or not, it’s that Kavanaugh should be given a fair confirmation hearing without delay, as if it were any other time of the year, and as if he were any other judge. That’s what is fair; that’s what is just; that’s what is American.