Why The President After Next Should Select The Replacement For Antonin Scalia
“This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” says Senator Mitch McConnell.
“We should put off a decision on Justice Scalia’s replacement until the newly-elected president can make his or her choice,” says Senator Pat Toomey.
“We’re in the midst of a consequential presidential election year, and Americans deserve an opportunity to weigh in given the significant implications this nomination could have for the Supreme Court and our country for decades to come,” says Senator Kelly Ayotte. “I believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the American people have spoken by electing a new president.”
I agree with these three senators.
It’s not right for a sitting president to appoint the next Supreme Court justice.
Forget that the Constitution says that making such appointments is what the President is supposed to do. It’s just not right, because Americans deserve an opportunity to elect a new president, again, and again, and again, before any leader they elect is allowed to do anything. After all, it’s not as if the President of the United States is elected to make decisions with “significant implications”. A sitting president, therefore, should always only make decisions about matters that have insignificant implications.
Following Kelly Ayotte’s advice, here’s a list of the kinds of decisions that a sitting President should be allowed to make:
– What shoes to wear
– How long to spend at lunch
– Whether to go bowling
– Serif fonts or sans serif fonts
– To allow the use of the word “humdinger” in official memos, or to ban it
Now that we’ve agreed that presidents should do nothing with significant implications, the question remains: How will new justices to the Supreme Court be nominated if the sitting president isn’t ever allowed to do it?
McConnell, Toomey, and Ayotte suggest that the next president should be allowed to make the nomination, but that ignores the root of the problem. As soon as the next president is inaugurated, well, then the time will come again for the American people to speak, and begin preparing to elect another president.
The clear answer is that the President of the United States should only make a Supreme Court appointment before being elected. Once a politician enters the White House, there’s too much politicking going on. Supreme Court justices should never be appointed when there are “consequential” political decisions being made – and no one can deny that when a President is in office, there are a whole lot of consequential decisions with significant implications being made – far too many for the President to exercise the constitutional duties of the Presidency.
So, what we clearly need to do is to set up a system in which politicians officially declare that they are going to declare their candidacies for the White House four years ahead of time. When they do so, these pre-candidates will place their nominations for open Supreme Court seats in sealed envelopes, which only can be opened if they are elected president four years later. That way, the chances are greater that Supreme Court justices will be nominated by people who aren’t thinking about the significant implications of their nominations. The last thing we want our leaders to do is to think things through, after all.
This system may seem cumbersome, but think about it. What’s the alternative – having the President of the United States exercise the constitutional authority of the President of the United States?
What kind of crazy extremist could go along with that loony idea?
Join with me, and take a stand as a member of the growing movement to have the current president do nothing significant, and to have the current presidential candidates promise to do nothing consequential either. The time to act is in another four years… maybe!