Letters to the Editor

Advice or Bickering?

Dear Editor: This is in response to two letters in which my letter was cited. I would like to clarify a few points.

I was not suggesting that the Senate was required to automatically approve the president’s nomination for a Supreme Court Justice. I was commenting, first, on the questionable taste of the Republican leadership’s first reaction to Justice Scalia’s passing – i.e. issuing a warning to the president “not to bother” nominating anyone. Father Eugene Hemrick dedicated an entire column to this subject (“Mourning the Deceased Before Replacing Him,“ March 3).

Secondly, that it is not as if the president had only three months left in office. At the time of Justice Scalia’s death, the president had a full year remaining in his term. As far as I know, the president is elected for a term of four full years.

Another reader says the president is “free” to make his recommendation, while he refers to the Senate’s role as a “responsibility.” Is it not the president’s responsibility to fill a vacancy in the country’s highest court?

The Senate may certainly approve or reject the president’s nominee. However, it is reasonable to expect that it will evidence its own sense of responsibility by serious consideration of the nominee. In not doing so, all they have evidenced is their disregard for the president.

Additionally, having an even number of justices for a long period of time can result in justice denied for many cases. If the Supreme Court is tied, the decision of the lower court is automatically upheld. This completely defeats the purpose and function of the Supreme Court. Is that not more important than political bickering?

As to calling the president a “Third-World dictator” because of his use of executive orders (224, to date), I did some quick research. Here’s a sampling of presidential use of Executive Order: George W. Bush issued 291, Richard Nixon 346, Dwight Eisenhower 484, Harry Truman 907, Ronald Reagan 381, Calvin Coolidge 1,203, and Franklin Roosevelt a whopping 3,522.

Additionally, there seems to be an automatic characterization of anyone who admires President Obama or criticizes a Republican, as a political “liberal.” Personally, I would characterize myself more as a pro-life Independent. I’m guessing there are many of us, and that we all struggle in the voting booth.

However, dismissing the spectacle that has characterized one Republican’s campaign as, “bad manners from one candidate” is a dangerous understatement. Creating an atmosphere in which people feel free – are indeed encouraged – to assault others, cheered on by an angry crowd, is a lot more serious than “bad manners.” We would do well to remember history.