The year 2005 saw a landmark event that involved the US presidency and the functioning of the constitution as we know it. As the presidential campaign trail heats up, one can’t help but look back to that fateful year when Senator Mitch McConnell stood squarely behind a governing president’s sovereign entitlement with regard to appointing judges.
Looking to jurisprudence for context, McConnell stressed, ‘’The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation. In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators.’’
It is interesting to note that more than a decade later, the same issues still seem to resurface and are yet to be resolved. A good example of this, is the argument for vetoing of court appointees, countered by the idea that this decision should be arrived at by way of a regular ballot process.
Even back then, McConnell commented on the latter approach saying, “[T]he Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote. I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.’
From this well thought out summation, it is clear to see that obstructing a presiding head of state in his stately duty of recommending judicial candidates, would be tantamount to endangering the governing principles of the U.S Constitution, something that McConnell and any other devoted citizen could never stand by idly and observe.