Minority access to institutions of higher learning. The future of collective bargaining. The fundamental concept of “one person, one vote.”
These issues and others hang in the balance as we face an unprecedented and indefensible refusal by the Senate Judiciary Committee even to consider, much less confirm, a nominee to the Supreme Court.
While our nation has seen vigorous, often partisan debate over a nominee’s ideological stance, never in history has a small group of obstructionists vowed to shut down the nomination process before it even has begun. The New York Times, in an editorial this week, called the move “panic masquerading as strength.”
While we often raise our voices to urge lawmakers to adopt one position or another, to act or not to act, never before have we as citizens been called upon to urge lawmakers simply to fulfil their constitutional responsibility. That we are doing so now is surreal.
President Obama is not a “lame duck” and will not be considered one, by any stretch of the definition, until November 8. Even then, whether he has one day or one year left in his term – and he does have nearly a year – he has an unequivocal Constitutional responsibility to appoint a Supreme Court justice. And the Senate has an unequivocal responsibility to advise and consent.