This Vacancy Will Keep: Leave Scalia’s Seat Empty
Pro-lifers across the country should make it a priority this week to contact their two U. S. Senators
The media machine of the Left is in high gear now, attacking conservative Senators because they don’t want to waste their time.
For how many years did the media lament that “Congress doesn’t do anything”? And now that the House and the Senate are actually working together, what does the media demand? A circus of Supreme Court nomination hearings that will produce nothing except maybe higher ratings—for some media..
President Obama wants to pack the Supreme Court and lock in his brand of 60’s “bureaucracy run wild, let’s rewrite the Constitution”—sexual liberation über alles – left wing ideology. Senate Republicans are saying “Not so fast.”
There’s a presidential election coming soon, and a political realignment seems to be taking place right before our eyes. Into the melee caused by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death in February, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“It’s my constitutional duty to nominate a Justice,” Obama said when he introduced Garland in the Rose Garden. Since then he and the organized Left have acted as if it were also the duty of the Senate to follow his orders.
News flash, Mr. President: You may give orders to the Executive Branch (within limits, some of which are now under court review, by the way). But you don’t command Congress to rubber stamp your judicial nominations (see Article II, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution).
And who is Merrick Garland? In the judgment of the New York Times, Garland “could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years.” The Judicial Crisis Network declares he “would be a reliable fifth vote for the laundry list of extreme liberal priorities.” And the Susan B. Anthony List says “a Justice Garland replacing Justice Scalia would move the Court dramatically to the pro-abortion position.”
This is nothing less than a shameless power grab. The attempt to gain ideological control of the Supreme Court could not be more naked. The Court can function just fine with eight members.
And with Congress firmly in the control of conservatives, the outcome is foregone. The nomination will not succeed. Why waste time in fruitless argument?
So it was no surprise that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he wouldn’t hold hearings. He has the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has said that since Congress is finally starting to get some work done, it should keep doing its job and let the country make up its mind in November about what direction it wants to go in for the next half-century.
Why should the President “continue to demand that Washington spend its time fighting on one issue where we don’t agree rather than working together on issues where we do?” McConnell asks, noting that Obama prefers to “gloss over the fact that the decision about filling this pivotal seat could impact our country for decades—that it could dramatically affect our most cherished Constitutional rights, like those contained in the First and Second Amendments.”
McConnell is so right.
The Supreme Court is one vote away from invalidating the efforts to protect women and children from abortion at the state level. Garland would certainly vote to quash state laws as well as longstanding federal pro-life policies including the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Hyde Amendment.
Remember: Many crucial cases of the past decades were decided by a one-vote margin; Scalia’s was the deciding fifth vote in two essential pro-life cases. The ban on partial-birth abortions was upheld by one vote in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). The right of Christian business owners—based on freedom of conscience—to refuse to provide their employees with abortion-causing drugs was preserved by a single vote in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014).
Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which Texas is seeking to preserve its health and safety standards for abortion clinics, was argued just days after the Court reconvened following Scalia’s death. The Little Sisters of the Poor case, which seeks to protect the freedom of conscience of religious employers, went to Court just two weeks ago. With the Court currently deadlocked at 4-4, there is very little sense of optimism that either of these cases will end up where the pro-life movement believes they should.
There’s no doubt about how Garland Garland would vote in the Little Sisters case—of course, he would strip away the constitutional protections that remain in place against involuntary participation in contraception and abortion funding.
Meanwhile, President Obama is travelling the country ginning up a firestorm, claiming that the Senate is violating the Constitution. GOP Senator Mark Kirk (IL) has broken ranks and met with Garland. Others say they will meet with him. Others who initially said they would meet with him have changed their minds. The situation is in constant flux.
The Left’s grassroots operation is pounding on Republican senators who are standing firm with Grassley and McConnell. Reports from Senate staff indicate that constituent communication is running 8 to 1 in favor of the nomination—that is, 8 to 1 against the interests of the pro-life movement. No matter how loyal a friend may be, when the mail is running so heavily in the other direction, it gets hard to handle.
Pro-lifers across the country should make it a priority this week to contact their two U. S. Senators and say “don’t waste your time on hearings. This vacancy will keep until after the election.”