Despite objections, Obama within power to make Supreme Court nomination


Alex Weidner, Multimedia Editor

America was hit with the tragic news of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death over Valentine’s Day weekend. The news of the now empty court seat comes in the wake of America’s most controversial and important election yet.

Contenders for the Oval Office on the Republican side of the aisle have been very rigid in their beliefs that President Obama should not nominate a new judge, nor could he respectively fill Scalia’s vacancy.

One thing that stands out in statements from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is that President Obama should not make a nomination because no “lame duck” president has done so for 80 years. This is just blatantly incorrect; as it turns out, Obama is in no way a lame duck. Not for another nine months, at least. The president incumbent is not relieved of his powers until inauguration day, most likely January 21 of the year following the elections.

On the topic of judicial nominations, the Constitution itself only says that, “[the president] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . Judges of the Supreme Court.” There’s no written deadline of his powers, meaning President Obama could essentially make a nomination as late as January of 2017, until inauguration day.

Furthermore, to say that a president does not or should not have the power to do his job as, ahem, the president, during his final year in office is also without precedent, and is simply a matter of opinion held by those who don’t agree with any decisions the president makes, such as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Whether you agree with Obama’s politics or not, it has never been up to the people to decide who sits on the Supreme Court; it is literally part of his job. There is nothing stopping the current president from nominating a new Justice, save for Congress blocking his decision, which, according to Obama, is not without precedent.

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