Letter to the Editor: People voted Obama in for four-year term, not three


This year we are experiencing an array of political controversies. One involves filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

The instruction of our founders on how to choose a justice is clear and concise. Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution reads, in pertinent part:

The President…shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the supreme Court….

The president has complied with the Constitution’s directive. He has nominated, to succeed the late Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland, chief judge of a federal court just below the Supreme Court. Garland was easily confirmed nearly 20 years ago, with warm praise from Republican senators. He has served admirably, with almost universal approval.

On the other hand, before Justice Scalia’s body was cold, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, with the concurrence of his party’s colleagues, stated that the Senate will not vote on whether or not to “advise and consent” on any nominee. The reason – they say the people should have a role in choosing the next justice, presumably by voting in the November election.

The people voted for Barack Obama in November 2012, electing him by a comfortable margin. There is nothing limiting any president’s term to three years (although there are some who are trying to do so). Therefore, the people clearly have performed the very role the Senate majority has advocated. Their real purpose is political. For nearly eight years they have told us that, above anything else, their objective is to make the Obama presidency fail.

Meanwhile, for at least a year, the high court will function with eight justices. There is a possibility, indeed a probability, that an equally divided court will result in significant cases, with profound consequences. And what will the Senate majority do should Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders be elected in November?

It is this kind of repeated refusal or inability of the Republican Congress to do what is required that helps give rise to a demagogue nightmare such as Donald Trump.

Bob Lowerre, Woodstock