The White House Press Office sent the WORD editor a transcript of President Obama’s March 17 conference calls with stakeholders about his appointment of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court and WORD writers were asked to opine.
By Chasity Fernandes, May 13, 2016
Obama has spoken. He has nominated Judge Merrick Garland to be the next Associate Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice following the death of Joseph Scalia.
I agree with Obama opinion that while he is almost at the end of term, he does still have a duty as President to fulfill his role until his last day in office, and, therefore his right to nominate a Supreme Court Justice is just as valid as the day he entered office.
However, as far as the actual nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, I feel that Obama didn’t give enough of a background in the speech to back up his decision. I don’t know enough about the nominee to actually agree that Judge Merrick Garland qualifies. Obama spoke very highly about his character but I don’t know as much as I would like about his achievements and what he’s done to differentiate himself.
“I chose Chief Judge Garland because this guy is as well-qualified as anybody who’s ever been nominated to the Supreme Court,” Obama says. “That’s not just my opinion, that’s pretty much a universal opinion. He possesses one of America’s sharpest legal minds. He brings a spirit of decency and modesty and integrity and even-handedness to his work. His work is excellent.”
Obviously, Obama’s comments were made in what is appearing to be a spectacle caused by partisan politics. Republican leaders in Congress have already said they will not hold nomination hearings until after the next 2017 presidential elections. Obama made the nomination despite it being his final 300 or so days in office. The partisan sparring taking place in the news media and Congress has been whether the task should be left for the next president to handle, being that elections are coming up in the fall.
However, America would then have to wait for the new president’s inauguration, and then continue waiting for the new president to get settled. Instead, Obama defends his position, saying, “Well, the American people did have a say back in 2012 when they elected me President. And they had a say when they elected the current senators as senators. They didn’t add a caveat that said we want you to be President except for your last 300 days in office when you don’t have to fulfill your duties. And they didn’t elect senators and say, you know what, this is only a three-quarters or a half a term; you get elected for the full term and you’re expected to do your job during that entire time.”
The point of the speech itself is to reach out to the news media and public, asking for the public to speak up in regards of the appointment because, as he says in his speech, “Republican leaders have said they believe the American people should have a say.”
Chasity Fernandes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org