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Hartzler: Supreme Court nominee must be confirmed without delay

September 28, 2020
In The News

The Senate must not delay the nomination process to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States. The American people as a whole have already spoken on the issue, delivering a mandate to President Trump in 2016 to confirm originalists to the Supreme Court and expanding the Republicans’ majority in the Senate in 2018. I commend Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley for their commitment to ensure the Senate fulfills that mandate.

In our nation’s history, there have been 29 Supreme Court nominations occurring during a presidential election. According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the norm has been set by the Senate to confirm the nomination of a qualified Supreme Court nominee during an election year in times when both the White House and the Senate are controlled by the same party, with 18 of the 19 nominations confirmed under this set of circumstances. The current vacancy arises under these circumstances.

By contrast, there have been 10 instances where a Supreme Court nomination was made in an election year when the White House and the Senate were controlled by opposing parties. Out of these 10 instances, only one was confirmed in 1888.

Under the Constitution, the President has the duty to nominate and the Senate has the duty to exercise its role of advice and consent. I commend Senator Blunt and Senator Hawley, as the individuals chosen to represent the great state of Missouri in the United States Senate, for standing firm in their commitment to ensure the vacancy on the court is filled judiciously and expeditiously within the process laid out by the Constitution.

As with every vacancy on the Supreme Court, each of us are called to consider what qualities we want to see in a Supreme Court justice. The Supreme Court must be comprised of justices who respect the Constitution and the processes of governing laid out in the Constitution. We have had far too many Supreme Court justices legislating from the bench and undoing the work of the people’s representatives. We need jurists who understand that the American people get to decide those policies through democratic means by electing their local, state, and federal leaders, not by having these policies forced on them by a group of unelected judges.

The nominee should be willing to make decisions consistent with originalist and textual jurisprudence, even if it is a decision that they do not agree with on personal political and ideological merits. We can only expect the institution to absolve itself from political pressures if the justices are willing to do same.

Additionally, the Supreme Court nominee should also be someone who respects core American principles — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This includes a nominee who will be a stalwart in defending the right to life and preserving religious freedoms for all.

I thank both Senator Blunt and Senator Hawley for standing on the side of the Constitution, and for their commitment to ensuring a qualified, textual originalist nominee is placed on the Supreme Court. I look forward to having a Supreme Court nominee confirmed without delay so that the institution can continue to function in its full capacity with justice for all.