US Constitution: Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 – Regarding Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

Constitution

Almost immediately after the passing of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Republican senators vowed to block any appointment by President Obama to fill the seat, stating that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice” (source: Huffington Post). To this, my brother who holds a Master’s Degree in History asserted that Republicans “quote the Constitution verbatim when it comes to ‘The right to bear arms’ but they ignore it when it comes to the President’s obligation to appoint Supreme Court justices.” I decided to read the part of the Constitution concerning appointment of Supreme Court Justices, since I had not read it since college.

[The President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

(Source: Cornell University Law Dept.)

The Constitution is very clear here. Nowhere does it state that the American people should select Supreme Court Justices; it is solely the President’s responsibility, and it is the responsibility of the Senate to provide “advice and consent.” Rather than obstructing the nomination, the Senate should expedite and assist in the process. This is what the Constitution demands.

I find it troubling that the US Constitution is being used in the same manner the Bible is often used—to be cited when it justifies what a group or individual believes in, but ignored when it contradicts those beliefs or opinions. The Constitution is the defining document that dictates how our government should operate and how our laws should be interpreted. If we begin to disregard sections for the sake of partisan politics, then we start down a very dangerous and slippery slope.

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8 Comments

Filed under Non-fiction

8 responses to “US Constitution: Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 – Regarding Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

  1. It’s a pretty stunning statement for an elected leader to make, refusing to work with it and promising to block any action on it. Then again, there was that little memo created by the same ‘leadership’ before President Obama was even inaugurated, saying pretty much the same. Amazing, truly.

  2. Alex Hurst

    Thanks for sharing this part of the Constitution. It really is ridiculous, though apparently Democratic leaders suggested the same thing in 2007 when Bush needed to appoint someone. In general, I just think that the rhetoric in the capitol is getting out of hand.

    • Hi Alex. Agreed, both parties are to blame for the political circus. But also the voters are to blame, because they have turned politics into a team spectator sport. It’s all about my team winning and gotta beat the rival team. Even the news media feeds this mentality because it keeps viewers watching. Ultimately, these shenanigans will not end well, in my opinion.

  3. i heard Senator Cory Booker quoting Article 2 of the Constitution so i wanted to read it myself… your blog came up in my search. thank you for your explanation… i shared it on FB/////

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