The Supreme Court and How Justices Are Elected
When it comes to joining the Supreme Court and becoming a Supreme Court Justices it is not as simple as one may think it is. There is a procedure that is followed to elect these justices, the first component of it is that the president has the authority to nominate justices. The second component of this procedure is that the Senate has the authority to give it’s “advise and consent” to the president’s nominee. Therefore, this individual may not sit on the Supreme Court unless it is nominated by the president and given a majority vote within the Senate. When it comes to the Senate and their majority vote people believe that their proper role is to ensure the nominee is qualified to sit on the court according to education and experience. Another belief is that for the nominee to be viewed as qualified it involves their policy views due to the impact of the court on the daily American public. The critics of the advice and consent program often are that presidents are entitled to significant senatorial difference toward their nominees. They also argue that the nomination process has become deeply polarized and dysfunctional. Within this paper, we will discuss two articles that each support different views as to how someone is appointed to the Supreme Court.
The first article that we read was by Russell L. Weaver and his view on the “advise and consent” system of the Senate’s approval and disapproval of the president’s nominee. The article discussed a multitude of things that mostly supported the first argument that the nomination process has become very polarized and dysfunctional. In his article, he discusses the practices, history, and theoretical basis of this process beginning with the U.S. Constitution and the appointment clause. In his article, he discussed how the U.S. Constitution was founded on the idea that power flows from the people to the government, rather than the other way around (Weaver). He also discussed how the Framers implicated the separation of powers to limit and control the government and how they were established (Weaver). Then he also discussed how the appointment clause is similar to the checks and balances due to the Senate having the power to disapprove and approve the nominee selected by the president (Weaver).
The first article by Weaver also talks about the history of the confirmation process and how it has served as a check and balances system towards the appointment power of the president. He provided examples of the president’s throughout history and the experiences they encountered with the Senate on disapproval and approval and how much it has changed since we ratified the constitution. Then he went onto discuss the Senate’s procedural rules as a stopper to confirmation and how they create hurdles within the confirmation process. He then mentioned the cloture rule that requires a supermajority to end a filibuster and how the filibuster has been changed over the years (Weaver). Next, he discussed how the Democrats feared that George W. Bush would try to stack the federal bench with conservatives rather liberals and how when Obama took office the Republicans use the rule to stop his nominees (Weaver). Then he discussed the obstacles concerning the blue-slip policy and how it allows senators to effectively veto nominees from their home state which causes a disruption in the nominee acceptance and disapproval process (Weaver). Then he discussed how the judicial system has come so politicized due to the ideology of the judicial nominees mattering so much. Later he discussed how the justices do not agree within the supreme court, how the press and media have turned into a major effect on the Supreme Court, and that the press and media have changed the cases to the identity of the judge rather than the importance of the decisions (Weaver).
The next article was more in favor of the argument that those presidents are entitled to significant senatorial difference toward their nominees. The article by Jeff, Yates, and William Gillespie discussed how “appointing a new justice to the Supreme Court gives the president an opportunity to create a lasting political and legal legacy, such opportunities come with considerable political risk in that presidents may lose valuable political capital from a prolonged battle in the Senate over an ideologically controversial nominee” (Yates, Jeff, and William Gillespie). Then the article then began to discuss the role of the Senates in the confirmation process of nominees and that it seems reasonable that a nominee’s political and constitutional views constitute a proper line of inquiry (Yates, Jeff, and William Gillespie). In this article, they also discussed how the Senate investigates the nominee’s ideas, beliefs, and their political views on things. Then the article discussed the framers and their arguments on the “advise and consent” policy and the early history of the “advise and consent” and how it was implicated throughout the Senate during the history of America.
Later in the article, the authors discussed the complications with the selection of powers and how the president and the Senate became the system to determine these nominees for the Supreme Court. Then it was discussed of how the senatorial standards for nominees are structured and that a senator can reject the nominee for any reason even for their political views and how the Senate has a uniform set of rules by which it constrains itself to appropriately judge the nominee for acceptance or rejection (Yates, Jeff, and Gillespie). This second article basically displayed that for the nominee to be evaluated correctly and effectively than prior to accepting the nominee should be investigated and examined within their beliefs, ideas, and political opinion. This article promotes the Senate’s involvement within the nominee process.
When it comes to my opinion and position on the two articles is that I believe that it is a good thing for the Senate to be involved in the confirmation process of nominees. If the President was just allowed to pick who he desired to be in it then he or she could fill the whole Supreme Court with their supporting political party nominees and have majority rule in the Supreme Court on very important cases so without them, we would have very biased cases in the Supreme Court. For example, when George W. Bush was in office the Democrats feared that he would stack the Supreme Court with republicans they began denying republican nominees to the Supreme Court which kept the balance in the Supreme Court instead of filling it with one political party (Yates, Jeff, and William Gillespie). Also, I believe that we need the Senate involved because the nominee’s ideas and opinions need to be taken into consideration when being evaluated. If the Senate did not do this then anyone could come in with an opinion that would not be favorable to the American public and since the Supreme Court is interconnected with the public then it should always be required to get accepted. The last reason I believe that these nominees should be evaluated and investigated is that for them to get in the Senate you should be educated and have prior experience in high profile situations to deal with the future situations and cases they will be faced with in the coming time they will serve as a Supreme Court Justice. For example, in the second article, we discussed we read that Joe Biden said that for a nominee to be accepted they first must be investigated to determine if the nominee has the intellectual capacity, competence, and judicial temperament required for a Supreme Court Justice (Yates, Jeff, and William Gillespie). Without this system in place in our Supreme Court there is no telling how our power would be judged in very important cases and if one side of the political spectrum controlled the whole Supreme Court then that party could control everything in the Supreme Court and there is no telling how misconstrued society and government power could end up being.
Weaver, Russel L. “‘ADVICE AND CONSENT’ IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.” Https://Blackboard.fmarion.edu/Bbcswebdav/Pid-42984-Dt-Content-Rid-116488_1/Courses/491/Advice_Consent_%201.Pdf, 2015, blackboard.fmarion.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-42984-DT-content-rid-116488_1/courses/491/Advice_Consent_%201.pdf.
Yates, Jeff, and William Gillespie. Supreme Court Power Play: Assessing the Appropriate Role of the Senate in the Confirmation Process. 2001, blackboard.fmarion.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-42986-DT-content-rid-116489_1/courses/491/Advice_Consent_%202.pdf.