Should the Senate hold hearings on the Nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court?

This blog delves into the issues regarding the March 16, 2016 nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States.   Wikipedia said the following about the nomination of Judge Garland:

“On March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13.[1] Scalia’s death led to an unusual situation in which a Democratic president had the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court nominee while the Republicans control the United States Senate; before Scalia’s death, such a situation last occurred when a Senate Republican majority confirmed Grover Cleveland‘s nomination of Rufus Wheeler Peckham in 1895.[2] Conversely, in February 1988, during an election year, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Anthony Kennedy, who was the Republican President Ronald Reagan‘s nominee for the Supreme Court, though Kennedy had been nominated in November 1987.[3]

“Political commentators widely recognized Scalia as one of the more conservative members of the Court, and noted that a more liberal replacement could shift the Court’s ideological balance for many years into the future. Consequently, Republican Senate leaders announced that they planned to hold no vote on any potential nominee until a new president was elected. Senate Democrats responded that there was sufficient time to vote on a nominee before the election.[4] Garland’s nomination has remained before the Senate for 160 days, longer than any other Supreme Court nomination.[5]

Throughout my education, my teachers have taught me to revere the noble nature of the United States system of government. After law school, I spent a year clerking for the late Ninth Circuit Judge David R. Thompson, who had been nominated by President Ronald Reagan.  The year working for Judge Thompson further cemented my reverence for the judiciary.

In this context, the U.S. Senate’s refusal to hold hearings on the nomination of Judge Garland perplexes me, and I fear that the decision will further encourage the public’s distrust of the Senate.

If you have any opinions about the Judge Garland, please join our blog so you can share your ideas with the community.

21 thoughts on “Should the Senate hold hearings on the Nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court?

  1. Thanks for this new blog! Hope you get some traffic… I’m disappointed that Garland is being frozen out. This seems like bad behavior by the Republicans to me. I’m curioust to see detailed responses by others…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Andrew. Thanks for the invite to this blog. I think it is a great forum for exchange of ideas, which seems to be in deficit these days. As a fellow student of constitutional law, my thought is very similar to yours. Politics aside, the job of the Senate is to hold a hearing on the President’s nomination regardless of how the vote will go. The Senate’s decision not to even hold a vote amounts to essentially the Senate not doing its job. Politics is healthy when practiced the way the founders had envisioned: i.e., the people’s representatives debate an issue and the majority wins. But when politics is used as a tool to prevent the Senate from doing its job, then the people’s interests are not served. I think this particular decision will come back to haunt the Republicans, as President Clinton is likely to nominate a more liberal justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea! And great first topic.
    I think the current situation is, unfortunately, not a big surprise. The last eight years or so I have kept thinking that they would finally do the right thing., but the republican partisanship has become, if anything, worse. It is now at the point where it is no wonder the best they could come up with for a presidential candidate is a sick reality show that keeps getting sicker.
    OK. I’m done. Thanks for the chance to get it off my chest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, excellent first topic!
    I remember looking at political commentary of this whole situation and envisioning a brand new, liberal leaning Supreme Court, begun by the excellent 44th President of our nation, Barack H. Obama. Having already appointed 2 fantastic liberal leaning Judges (Sonia Sotomayer & Elena Kagan), I knew Obama was on par to elect a 3rd, something very few Presidents ever have the privilege of doing. After reading a few articles myself, I saw his choice for nomination, and was very impressed with his ability to find a candidate that would truly satisfy both sides of the political coin (Rs & Ds). With Merrick being voted in previous positions nearly unanimously by Democrats and Republicans, it seemed the perfect moderate candidate to overcome Republican obstructionism. Sadly, however, the Republican party seems to have become so obstructionist and inhibitory, that it has essentially completely abused its power. I believe Obama made a great choice, and the fact does remain, pending Hillary does win the nomination, and she gets voters out to elect Democrats up and down the ticket as well, we have an opportunity to see a very, very liberal Justice in that seat. As long as Democrats do their job, it looks like it will be a good turn out either way!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi there, and thank you for the invite to your blog. I must confess, despite that fact that politics has been a favorite subject of mine ever since I was just a little girl in grade school, for that last year, I’ve been disappointed in more and more of our politicians, that I’ve just been too emotionally burnt out in following much of anything concerning the subject. So, I will admit this is the first I’ve learned about any of this. I really don’t know a whole lot about the kind of person Judge Merrick B. Garland is, other than what I’ve read on your blog, although I am now intrigued, and would like to learn more about him. But I do agree with what Henry Tovmassian said, “the job of the Senate is to hold a hearing on the President’s nomination regardless of how the vote will go”. It is very important that the senate do it’s job for the people’s interests to be served, and I apologize if I’m sounding cynical here, but I can just bet, that there is a sinister motive behind this. Most politicians are just crooked, plain and simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Rachael,
      Thank you so much for posting on Unfortunately, Andy is out of town this week and having unanticipated technical difficulties accessing the site. He asked me to send on his thanks and to tell you that he will respond as soon as he gets normal internet access this coming weekend.
      Thank you again. J.T.


  6. If you talk to Trump supports who are (a) intelligent or (b) have a heart, most of them are pretty uneasy with the idea of a President Trump. That said, they justify their vote for him by saying they want a president who would support Republican-led legislation and who would elect conservative Supreme Court Justices. Although the refusal to hold hearings for Garland seems pretty absurd, it’s causing right-leaning voters to consider the long-term effect their presidential vote will have on the makeup of SCOTUS – something that otherwise might not have been top of mind, but that helps them justify a vote for a pretty unconventional candidate. Although I don’t think this was the original intention of denying the hearing, it may end up playing in the Republicans’ favor when it comes to November.


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