Several years ago John M. Walker Jr., senior judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, wrote a piece at The Atlantic titled The Unfortunate Politicization of Judicial Confirmation Hearings, which he began as follows, and his words ring quite true today:
"The nomination and confirmation process for federal judges is broken. It politicizes the judiciary, misrepresents the judiciary's role in our democracy, demeans highly qualified nominees, and unjustifiably delays or jettisons confirmations altogether. Such political theater trivializes a decision of considerable magnitude -- the lifetime appointment of a federal judge -- and has no hope of accomplishing its stated aim: the vetting of a candidate for the performance of the judicial function as it actually occurs."The ignorant NEGLIGENCE with which the judicial selection process is being bantered about currently in political circles after the passage of Justice Scalia ignores a telling statement that Walker makes in that same article.
Walker criticizes the idea that the nomination and confirmation of judges should be made on the basis of the judge's political persuasion:
"[It is a position, says Walker, which] relies on the assumption that judges rule based on their political views (after nearly 30 years on the federal bench, I can say that this almost never occurs)."A good example of the truth of that statement is the deciding vote cast on Obamacare by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts, a staunch conservative who nonetheless proved thereby that he is not a political puppet of some faction of some political party.
The trouble with U.S. politicians in our era is that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing and are instead meddling in the work of the executive and judicial branches. This applies particularly to the members of Congress, a legislative body which has the job to legislate for the good of the nation and as far as possible, for the good of all Americans.
Too many Congressional legislators (LEGISLATION is THEIR job) want to play chief executive or judge (and spend a lot of their paid time doing so), while important legislation is neglected, or, as in the case of the ill-famed government shutdown, the legislators simply refuse to work altogether.
We call such people laggards, and they have no business being in public office.
This state of affairs will only stop when the voting populace starts to elect alternative candidates and reject the laggards, and as we see in the surge of Donald Trump for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats, that is beginning to happen.
A lot of smart people in the country, especially those in the political center -- and yes, we are political centrists, those who decide the elections -- are fed up with all of those laggards in Congress who are not doing the job for which they were elected, while the country is beset with manifold problems that need to be solved, but which are being neglected for political reasons.
The job of nominating a Supreme Court Justice is the job of the President of the United States.
The job of Congress is to confirm the nomination if the nominee possesses the requisite character, legal skills and knowledge to exercise that high office.
Whether the nominee thinks politically like "Half Truth" Senator Cruz, for example, is irrelevant, though, God forbid, we could all pray that she or he does not. Amen.
The Upshot at the New York Times in Where the Senate Stands on Nominating Scalia’s Supreme Court Successor has a list of Republican and Democratic Senators showing their attitude toward whether President Obama in this election year should at all nominate a Supreme Court Justice to replace the deceased Justice Scalia. All 46 Democratic Senators said "yes", while 30 of 54 Republicans said "no", although some of those have since changed their mind, hopefully realizing the Constitutional absurdity of their position.
Nevertheless, 30 or fewer laggards wallowing in "half truths" is way too many in a Congress that needs to get back to work and do THEIR job.