Just Sayin'

Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.

Why Won't Ron Johnson Do His Job?

Political, U.S., Wisconsin

It is a disgrace to America and an insult to her people that only hours after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Republican leaders were playing politics. Before the body was cold, many said that they would block any attempt by President Obama to name a successor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McTurtle McConnell said , "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President."

And most of the remaining GOP presidential candidates concurred with McConnell during that evening's presidential debate. Front runner Donald Trump said, "I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it. It’s called delay, delay, delay."

Runner-up Canadian native Ted Cruz added, "We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.” And android candidate Marco Rubio interjected, "I do not believe the president should appoint someone. " Of course, if President Romney was currently in office, his nominee would zoom through the Senate at super-luminal speed.

Sorry guys. The last time I checked, President Obama holds office until January of 2017. He has a constitutional obligation to fill Supreme Court vacancies. The Senate has a constitutional obligation to hold hearings and to vote on the President's nominees. Government 101. President Obama plans to fulfill his obligation after the Senate returns from a much-needed vacation on February 22. One can only hope that the Senate GOP majority will fulfill theirs.

And what about our own Senators? There is no doubt that Tammy Baldwin will do the job that we pay her to do. If the matter is actually allowed to be brought-up, she will give the President's nominee a fair and honest hearing.

But what about Ron Johnson? Will he fulfill his Constitutional "advice and consent" duties as a Senator? Early statements lead us to believe that he will not. Johnson will evidently try to block the President's nominee, no matter how brilliant, no matter how qualified.

In a statement released yesterday, Johnson said, "I strongly agree that the American people should decide the future direction of the Supreme Court by their votes for president and the majority party in the U.S. Senate. America needs Supreme Court justices who share Justice Scalia's commitment to applying the Constitution as written and to the freedom it secures."

Ron is wrong on two counts. The American people have already decided the direction of Supreme Court nominations between January 2013 and January 2017, by our overwhelming re-election of President Obama. In trying to negate the consequences of that election, Johnson is exhibiting his gross and utter contempt for the Constitution.

Secondly, it is not up to the Senate to determine the ideology of the President's nominations. The Senate's role is to vet the nominee and reject anyone who is incompetent or corrupt. Senators have no role in deciding who is considered for nomination, only whether they will make acceptable jurists. Again, Johnson is showing his ignorance of the Constitution.

Johnson seems to think that conservatives are somehow entitled to keep Scalia's Supreme Court seat. That the court must be packed with corporatists like Scalia. He thinks that no matter who the President is, a far-right majority must be maintained on the Court. That is simply not how our Constitution works.

Ron thinks that the President should have no power to nominate during his fourth year of a four year term. By Johnson's weird logic, no Senator's votes should count during the final year of their six-year term. Maybe Ron should just abstain from voting for the rest of 2016. Or better yet, since Russ Feingold is so far ahead in the polls, Ron should just turn his 2016 Senate votes over to the likely winner now.

US Senators, including Ron Johnson, need to do the job we pay them to do. With all of the important upcoming cases, the American people deserve a fully-staffed Supreme Court. We elected the President for a full four year term. We expect him to fill Court vacancies. We expect the Senate to consider nominees. It is ironic that Ron Johnson refuses to do his job as Wisconsin Senator, yet is asking us for another six-year term..



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