Friday, May 06, 2016

Cleaver: We need nine Supreme Court justices

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

The Supreme Court is in the midst of deciding one of the most important immigration cases in years – at stake is the unity of millions of families with undocumented members. And yet, the case will be heard with only eight Supreme Court Justices.

It has been more than seven weeks since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. However, despite his long career and compelling credentials, Judge Garland is no closer today than he was on March 16th to being confirmed for the Supreme Court. Garland certainly does not lack credentials or ability, nor a record of expertise. He has no “activist” record.

There will be much written by historians to analyze this politically untidy time and how the potty-mouth politics defined our era. Section 2 of Article II says the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . Judges of the Supreme Court." Can a job description be any clearer?

The Senate is not a rubber stamp, and through history we’ve seen contentious debates and drawn out processes of nomination. But, throughout the 240-year history of this country, we’ve always trusted this process and carried through with nominations in a timely manner. The Constitution states that the Senate is duty bound to carry out this process, but the desires of party are being placed over needs of our country.

Quite simply, the highest court in the land must have its full complement of Justices to handle the weighty matters it must address. There is important business at hand, and it requires we have a full and confirmed Supreme Court to address it. Some of the most pressing issues of our time, issues that affect real Americans, are hanging in the balance.

In our great state of Missouri, we have tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants waiting to find out the fate of their family unity. We have women waiting to find out the fate of their birth control. And we are all anxious to move with the rest of the science-believing world to reduce pollution and fossil fuels starting with the Clean Power Plan.

The Constitution is clear, the Senate is to “advise and consent.”

As we return to Washington next week, I implore my colleagues in the Senate to think deeply and read the words of our foundational document. We need nine and we deserve nine, and we call on the Senate to hold hearings and uphold the only duty they’ve been sworn to - the Constitution of the United States.

No comments: