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Friday, May 14, 2021

OPINION: Political obstructionism is crippling us, it’s time to do your job

Illustration by Nikki Swift
Illustration by Nikki Swift

When Senate Republican leaders said earlier this month that they would reject any Supreme Court pick from President Obama, they were entirely within their right. The vote they cast decides whether the appointment is a good fit, and this is proper politics. But by vowing to not hold any meetings, hearings or votes related to an Obama choice, they are doing the country an enormous disservice.

By pushing off the appointment, the majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky hopes the next elected president will make the appointment, stating that waiting ensures it is the people’s choice. The thing is, it was the people’s choice to re-elect Obama in 2012. We have already spoken, and McConnell is putting words in our mouths.

This is an odious example of the type of obstructionism that this Senate should be remembered for. President Obama has endured a terrible amount of pushback from Republicans during his time in office and it’s starkly obvious that they intend to continue the trend until the end. This must change for us to make any progress.

President Obama has not only the proper authority to make such an appointment, but he is overqualified. As a previous constitutional law teacher, it’s safe to say that Obama knows his stuff when it comes to this, and was reported by The New York Times to have researched each of his potential candidates’ past judicial rulings.

Should the seat remain vacant, the possibility of a four to four stalemate vote could leave many decisions on the table. Issues such as abortion clinics in Texas, Obama’s immigration plan and one topic of particular interest to college students: affirmative action policies in college admissions, could be a stalemate and default back to the lower courts.

The politics game has lost sight of who they’re really playing for – this nation’s citizens. The Senate is supposed to be an insulated party when it comes to politics, and no obvious lean should be apparent. What is apparent, however, is that what should be a group of politicians who deliberate in-depth have dropped the curtain. They will not deliberate if it is not in their best interest.

If we, as a country, continue to play the power shuffle, we will stalemate every single time. How can we progress if the only item on the agenda is to maintain a majority?

The hashtag the president has provided works pretty well: #DoYourJob. As elected representatives, we trust that these politicians are working for us. Not half of us, not those of us who side with one issue or another. All of us. And with that they are elected to do their job to entirety.

The Senate does not have to appoint an Obama choice, but they should at least play the game. Finding a moderate judge who would increase bipartisanship would be the best thing that would happen to the Supreme Court, but good luck even getting their foot in the door.


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