Should Trump be able to appoint a new Supreme Court justice so close to election?

opinion

Not a time for retaliation

Written by Ted Rogers


President Donald Trump should appoint a new Supreme Court justice. There is zero precedent for a sitting president not to have the authority to appoint a new justice or for the Senate  to block the nominee until a new president is in office. Removing this power because the four years are close to being over is arbitrary and problematic.

The president has the right to, and is expected to, appoint a new justice to the current vacant position. The Constitution provides that the president appoints a new justice with the approval of the Senate. There is a common claim that “the people should make the decision on the appointment of the next justice by the results of the election.” This claim is ridiculous. The people did decide when they elected Trump four years ago.

In 2016, the Republican Senate blocked President Obama from appointing a new justice until after the election. The actions of the Republicans during the last election should not become precedent. While not strictly illegal, it was clearly against the spirit of the Constitution. Prior to Obama, never before in U.S. history has a supreme judicial appointment been delayed until a new president is elected. This decision should not determine the current situation. A government does not function on a return-the-favor system.

Despite the shady and unfair actions of Republicans in the previous election, the president does not cease to be the president during the last year of his term. Democrats are clearly interested in some sort of retribution for a previous wrong, but this should be avoided. It is a dangerous way to run the government. Trump should, and most likely will, appoint a new justice, and we should all ensure that this is the standard for the future of U.S. politics.

Follow the precedent and let the people choose

Written by Samuel Mora Zepeda

The death of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sparked controversy in an already controversial presidential election. Should President Donald Trump get the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court Justice after he already appointed two justices in his first term? Republicans will obviously answer “yes” and would argue that it is the president’s and Senate’s constitutional obligation. However, there are more things to consider than simply the legality of such actions. 

Looking back four years ago, a similar situation occurred during President Barack Obama’s presidency. After the death of Antonin Scalia, President Obama wanted to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the vacant seat. However, at that time Republicans controlled the Senate and blocked  all attempts to move the nomination forward. The argument Republicans used to block Garland’s appointment was that presidents should not be able to appoint Supreme Court justices in an election year. Keep in mind that this was nine  months before the election started. 

In contrast, Trump’s nomination will take place in less than two months before the next presidential election. Two wrongs do not make a right, but there should be a consistency in how the government is run. And Republicans created a precedent when they blocked Obama’s nomination in his election year. Consistency is needed for people to trust their government. 

Furthermore, the American people should have a choice and a say about their next Supreme Court justice. The only person with the constitutional power to nominate  a Supreme Court justice is the president;  meaning the only way for the American people to have a choice in who gets to be a Supreme Court justice is by electing the president. Therefore, the vacant seat in the Supreme Court should not be filled until the next election, guaranteeing that the American people have a choice in who fills it.

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