Senate Democrats: Less Hearing Through More Reading?

Throughout my career whenever I took an interview for a new job it was always a three-interview process: The first interview to see if you were professional, polite, reasonably articulate, well-groomed, and could relate your experience to the position’s requirements, the second interview to see if you actually had the skills you bragged about on your resume, and – if offered the position – a third interview to negotiate terms of employment which would keep you happy and your new company solvent.

I suspect it’s much the same when a job for Supreme Court Justice opens up and the “Company” called the “United States” interviews potential hires….except it’s probably more like “23 interviews” – one by each member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one by the President of the United States – the salary and benefits are pretty much already defined, and the entire country gets to watch it all happen.

This week we’re witness a US Senate’s Judiciary Committee Hearing where 22 people (12 Republicans and 10 Democrats) will interview U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the position of Supreme Court Justice. Apparently, Senate Democrats claim three or so weeks is too short to decide on whether to hire a person for such an important position, but I suggest if they read more their “Hearing” will be less.

Consider:

  • The President of the United States gets to pick the Supreme Court nominee:
  • “[The President of the United States] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law…”
    - The United States Constitution, Article II, Section II

  • The President has these powers for the full four years of his term, even if he’s not re-elected and has to keep the seat warm for two-and-a-half months for his successor:
  • The president is elected for four years, not three years. So the power he has in year three continues into year four and maybe some members of the Senate will wake up and appreciate that that’s how it should be.”
    - Former US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sept. 7, 2016

  • It’s Ok to demand support of or an allegiance to the US Constitution, but illegal to require the person be of a specific religion (like, “Catholic”, or “Jewish”):
  • “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
    - The United States Constitution, Article VI

  • The Senate already rigorously interviewed Judge Barrett three years ago:
  • Judges appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals are nominated by the President and vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, just like Supreme Court Justices, so Senate Democrats already extensively interviewed Judge Barrett three years ago: Just how much more “extensiveness” is required?

    My suggestion, Senate Democrats? Instead of trying to have Judge Barrett give her opinion on cases she didn’t participate in (knowing she can’t, not that she won’t), predict how she would decide on cases she hasn’t yet heard (and, may never hear), or suggest that future court decisions would be her’s alone and would strip important rights from certain Americans, why not do what the GOP is doing: Ask questions that go to her character, knowledge, ability, experience, and record to see if Amy Coney Barrett is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land?

    I suspect it would be what America’s first woman Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Conner – nominated by President Ronald Reagan – would have wanted.

    Thanks for Reading!

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