Dear Mitch McConnell,
Within minutes of the President’s announcement that Merrick Garland was his Supreme Court pick, you took to the Senate floor to point out that it’s the “Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent.”
It may be your “right” to withhold consent, but it’s also dereliction of duty. Thirty years ago, it took roughly a month for a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed. Today, the average is closer to 70 days. Barack Obama will be in office for 309 more days, which is ample time to vet, interview, and confirm a justice, even under the most contentious of circumstances.
In your statement, you said “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” Here’s a news flash: the American people have already had a say. They elected Barack Obama twice. They elected you and your fellow Senators. You all took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and to do your bloody jobs.
I’m just a lowly English professor, but between an excellent 100-level Poli Sci class I took 30 years ago and a ten-minute Google search on the confirmation process, I believe I have a better understanding of checks and balances than you do.
The purpose of the confirmation process is not so you can wait for someone from your party to take office and pick a nominee you like better. No, the reason checks and balances exist is so that one branch of the government cannot abuse its power. By design, the system slows government down, and that’s as it should be. But deliberately forestalling the confirmation process of a moderate, qualified nominee who would likely sail through were it not an election year is not “checking” the executive branch. It’s ugly partisan politics.
Do the job you were elected to do, Senator McConnell, and stop trying to keep a sitting President from doing his.