The Broken Confirmation Process
Today is the first Monday in October which marks the opening of the new session of the US Supreme Court.
The court begins this session one member short.
I certainly understand that with the charges and accusations that more time is needed to examine the situation but I am troubled by the way the overall confirmation process has evolved. The purpose of this post is not to discuss him but the badly broken overall process of confirmation.
Let us assume that no charges of any kind were made against Kavanaugh.
Do you really think that Senator Schumer would have given a moments consideration to voting for a Republican Supreme Court nominee ?
He’s been in the Senate for 25 years and has never done so.
His counterpart Senator McConnell is only slightly better. He did vote for the two Clinton nominees but I see no chance of him ever voting for a Democratic nominee again.
And the two leaders reflect the vast majority of their fellow Senators. Only a few swing state Senators are even potential votes across party lines.
This is a very disturbing fact. Historically the role of the Senate has been to determine that the nominee is qualified and within the overall judicial mainstream.
This second part does not mean that the potential Justice is within the individual Senator’s personal views, simply that they are within the broad stream.
Certainly both Ginsburg and Breyer were well to the left of most GOP Senators but most still voted aye. Kennedy and O’Connor were well to the right of most Democrats but they voted yes.
All four nominees were clear on the long standing principle that you do not answer hypothetical questions about how you would vote on given cases, but they were still confirmed.
I certainly understand that a progressive would want the court to move left, just as a conservative would want the court to move right.
But if a nominee is both qualified and in the broad mainstream they should be confirmed.
This is not to say that I think Kavanuagh should be confirmed since we do not have the full story from the FBI investigation.
But, as much as I did not and do not support Trump, one of his nominees should be confirmed, just as the nominees of the next Democratic POTUS should be.
That is how the process should work.