Senate Republicans wrong to reject Supreme Court nominees sight unseen but not to reject those they judge too liberal
Republicans are wrong to unqualifiedly state that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, "they'll block her nominees, effectively abandoning their advice and consent role for her term" ("More in GOP suggest leaving 8 on high court," Nov. 2.) What Senate Republicans should do, assuming that they're fortunate enough to retain control of the Senate, is to give meaning to the "advice" portion of their "advice and consent role." The Constitution stipulates that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges to the Supreme Court…" (Article II, Section 2).
Accordingly, if Ms. Clinton becomes president, Senate Republicans should give her a list of acceptable nominees — not limited to conservatives; that inappropriately would be dictating to the president — in the mold of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Sometimes he votes with the four conservative justices, sometimes with the liberals. Providing a list of acceptable centrist nominees would not only be legitimate, but wholly consistent with the constitutional prescription that "consent" be predicated upon the phrase "by and with the Advice" of the Senate.
Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, should either withdraw or be rejected by the Senate. When it comes to gun rights, he's clearly a "collective-right-only" guy who would likely join the other four liberal justices in overturning the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago that held that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms. In 2007, he voted to have the full D.C. appeals court reconsider the individual right to gun ownership after a 3-judge panel in the Heller case voted 2-1 that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Logically, if he had agreed with the panel's decision, he would not have voted to have the full appeals court reconsider the issue. Why would any senator, Republican or Democrat, who believes that the Second Amendment guarantees individual gun rights want to vote to confirm him?
If, contrary to Senate advice, Ms. Clinton were to nominate a leftist for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans should rightly and unanimously reject that nominee. That would not constitute "a thorough kangaroo court-style hearing before Republicans," as The Sun previously opined ("Supreme stand-off," Oct. 19.) Rather, it would simply mean that the Senate, consistent with the Constitution, will not give its consent without the president accepting its advice.
On the other hand, if Democrats regain control of the Senate — well, where's the purple Kool-Aid?