While it is President Obama’s duty to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, it is the Senate’s job to approve or refuse the nomination.
This confirmation ritual typically runs smoothly, but the Senate, presently run by the Republican Party, has decided to postpone the process until the election of the next president.
In the meantime, with only eight Supreme Court justices, some important cases could end in a tie vote.
If that happens, the lower court’s decision would prevail.
If President Obama places a nominee before the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz has vowed, Cruz will filibuster the nominee’s confirmation.
The definition of a filibuster is “any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length.”
Filibusters are not just five-minute speeches. The longest filibuster reportedly was 24 hours and 18 minutes, by Sen. Strom Thurmond, against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
These time-consuming speeches typically begin with the topic at hand, but after a few hours, it becomes monotonous, so they take a different approach.
Cruz, for example, has presented a mind-numbing filibuster where he eventually read the book “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Filibusters can be powerful. Senators have stopped legislation from passing through the Senate with just the threat of torturous filibuster.
A filibuster in 2010 stopped the DREAM act, which would have allowed a path to citizenship for many children brought over by illegal immigration.
Filibusters are a way for people to speak their minds for long amounts of time.
They can be effective for senators to get what they want from party-controlled Senates, but a rule change in 2013 took away some power.
Before the change, it took 60 votes to halt a filibuster; now it requires only 51 votes.
The change allows for a filibuster to be more easily stopped.
Cruz has made this threat to filibuster, but Obama is planning to move forward with the nomination process, anyway.
The nominations are important because Supreme Court Justices serve for life.
Cruz needs to settle down and realize that it is the president’s job to nominate a new justice — and putting off this decision could be detrimental to cases that go through the Court.
Tie votes will damage the intended process.
Even if Cruz ends up filibustering, it is still Obama’s duty to nominate candidates.
It is the president’s right — and his honor.