Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hey, Ted Cruz: An Impotent SCOTUS Makes The Founders Cry

Ted Cruz / Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

That fine defender of the United States Constitution, Senator Ted Cruz, has spoken.  Apparently we owe it to Justice Scalia's memory to ensure that his seat on the Supreme Court remain empty for 11 months or longer. 

Okay.  Let's say we did that.  On close questions, we'd be looking at a lot of 4 to 4 decisions - meaning the Court would be unable to actually issue binding opinions on the most controversial matters that come before it.  In legalese, that scenario would reduce the Supreme Court of the United States to a nullity.  In plain English, the Supreme Court may as well not exist.

I recall Justice Scalia being very, very concerned with The Founders' intent (at least, as he conceived of it.)  Am I the only who thinks, hey, maybe The Founders REALLY liked the ideas of three coequal branches of government, which provide checks & balances against one another's power?  Am I the only one who recalls those concepts being frequent topics of discussion at the time of our founding?

Certainly, a die-hard original intent fan like Senator Cruz recalls these points being repeatedly made within The Federalist Papers.  A 4-4 SCOTUS = one branch down, Senator Cruz.

I'm pretty sure Justice Scalia would have thought the idea of leaving a seat vacant for a year - especially with such a closely divided Court - anathema to the Founders' intent.  Even if he didn't care for the current President's politics, Scalia's commitment to constitutional principles and his awareness of the important role played by the institution of the Court would have won the day.

So don't drag Justice Scalia into your political posturing, Ted.

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