By Dylan Deprey
The clock has been ticking in the waning decision for the next Supreme Court justice. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia sent a wave of uncertainty through the judicial system two months ago. Only a month later, President Obama nominated Justice Merrick Garland.
According to Jennifer Psaki, White House communications director, 99 days is the longest average running time to decide on an appointed Supreme Court justice in the last two decades.
With this record inching nearer, Justice Garland has met with less than a quarter of the senators in Congress.
During a press call, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin addressed the lack of participation in her colleague’s attempts to address Garland’s nomination.
“There have been calls among my Republican colleagues to obstruct this nomination and to not even meet with him or hold hearings,” Baldwin said.
She also called out to her fellow senators to remember the oath they swore when they took their seat in Washington, D.C. She noted that their job was to support and defend the constitution.
“We need to take our jobs seriously,” Baldwin said. “Our job is to instill these constitutional duties, and it seems some of my Republican colleagues have forgotten this.”
She noted that the people elected President Obama to have a second term in office. Although he may be on the last leg of it, he still has around nine months left in office.
“I believe the American people deserve to have a full and functioning Supreme Court working for them and not an empty seat,” Baldwin said.
According to University of Wisconsin Law School Professor Miriam Seifter, an eight-justice court does a disservice to the legal system.
She stated that the Supreme Court’s job is to provide uniformity and clarity on legal questions. She added that a deadlock decision would mean that laws would differ from regional courts. This could place the court in a perpetual cycle of undecided decisions.
“The consequence is that the law would be unsettled,” Seifter said
She noted Justice Garland as having “impeccable credentials.” This includes his 19 years served on the DC Circuit Court.
“He is meticulous. He is even handed, and he is incredibly hardworking,” Seifter said.
Seifter also added that the Senate usually acts swiftly on the matters of holding a hearing for a nominated Supreme Court Justice. This has not been the case with Justice Garland.
Sen. Baldwin felt the actions taken by her Republican colleagues were disrespectful to U.S. citizens, the president and their constitution. She even called out to her Wisconsin Republican colleague Sen. Ron Johnson.
“I just don’t think the American people can afford partisan obstruction that threatens the integrity of our democracy and functioning of our constitutional government,” Baldwin said.
According to Sen. Johnson’s communication director, Patrick McIlheran, Sen. Johnson has been open to have a meeting with anybody including Justice Garland.
“He (Johnson) is steadfast in his view that because Wisconsinites’ Second Amendment right to bear arms and other fundamental liberties are at stake in this lifetime Supreme Court appointment,” McIlheran said.
McIlheran added that Sen. Johnson plans to fulfill his duties while using his constitutional check on the presidential nomination until Americans voice their opinion in November.
While the decision for the next President looms in the distance, Republicans and Democrats will clash until the clock strikes midnight for their decision in filling the empty seat on the Supreme Court.