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The SCOTUS Nominee Blockade: A Dangerous Precedent for Youth?

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Chief Justice Merrick Garland

After associate Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia passed on February 13th 2016, the Republican-led Senate has not shown signs of abandoning its blockade of any judge President Obama nominates. Despite the President’s nominee being the “conservative Democrat” federal appeals judge Merrick Garland, the Republican Senate Leaders would prefer blocking any nominees until the next president, hopefully Republican, is inaugurated.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader of the Senate, and many of his colleagues, including the presidential candidates, have said that the time is simply not right, as it is a “transition” period between two presidential administrations. Underlying this main reason is the inherent distrust the GOP holds of President Obama’s judgment, with Republican leaders concerned that the President will nominate a liberal judge or a judge not beholden to the GOP’s ideology of conservatism.

According to their rhetoric, the nominee that the next President chooses should also be considered for appointment to the Supreme Court, as the nominee the “people have chosen,” through the presidential elections. The question of whether this blockade is valid under the Constitution has been debated furiously over the past month, with an eclectic range of opinions offered by political pundits, Senate leaders, and presidential nominees.

Many Democrats have criticized the Republican blockade, with the most outspoken being Senator Elizabeth Warren, who argues that refusing to consider or meet with Garland is a breach of Republican constitutional duty. Democrats have spawned the social media hashtag, “#DoYourJob,” pressuring the Republicans to consider the President’s nominee.

In defense of the blockade, Republican leader Mitch McConnell cited the, “Biden Rule,” referencing a speech made by Biden in 1992, arguing that SCOTUS nominees should not be confirmed in an election year. Many Republican presidential candidates, including the Constitutional expert Ted Cruz, have also argued that in the past 80 years, no presidential nominees have been confirmed in election years.

While much of the public leaves the debate and legality of this issue to the political leaders and pundits, there has been concern expressed for the effect this blockade will have on the youth of the country. According to a POLITICO article from March 19th, the harsh rhetoric spewed from both the left and the right, the constitutional controversy, and the political disunity and polarization spawned by this blockade will, “discourage, dishearten, and skew the youth’s perception of the U.S political system,” . “The issue is not whether the Republicans or the Democrats are right,” writes POLITICO reporter Daniel McGraw, “The danger in this issue is the negative image the oh-so-revered GOP leaders and Democratic leaders portray when they engage in such political warfare.”

McGraw and many other worried reporters seem to be right in their concerns , as according to a focus group consisting of 17 Bergen County Academies (BCA) students; 14 of the students viewed the political deadlock surrounding the blockade to be “inefficient” as opposed to “efficient.” One member of the focus group called the deadlock, “shameful to American democracy and discouraging to those pursuing a political career,” while another  called it, “lazy, unconstitutional and immoral.” One particularly animated member stated that the deadlock was, “ironic, as it is sad my friends at the age of 15 seem to be more mature and procrastinating less than these politicians.”

A BCA history teacher, preferring to remain anonymous exclaimed, “It’s highly confusing and slightly pathetic how the Senate can do so little in such a long amount of time. Some of my more aware homeroom [kids] students were talking about how sad of a state the government is in.” One thing certain among all of the gray areas and controversy surrounding the SCOTUS nominee blockade is that the political warfare being waged is a dangerous precedent for future generations.

why are the opinions of bca people credible to confirm or not confirm these concerns?

next time I recommend getting information about these speakers – do all these students prefer to stay anonymous?

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The SCOTUS Nominee Blockade: A Dangerous Precedent for Youth?