The current controversy over selecting a Unites States Supreme Court justice to replace Scalia is an prime example of why elections matter.
As soon as the news was out. Before the cause of death had been released,before President Obama had said he intends to nominate a replacement, Republicans were warning that they would hold off until the next President to fill the vacancy on the bench. This was, and will continue to be, criticized in the media and by Democrats. make no mistake, this is a very political issue.
They complain, rightly, that Obama is the President now, and he gets to nominate a replacement. They are correct. It is the President’s duty to select and nominate someone to fill the hole in the Supreme Court. That does not change because it’s an election year.
It is the US Senate’s job to confirm or reject any nomination. That does not change because it’s an election year.
If Justice Scalia had passed 6 years ago, back when the Democrats had a supermajority, republicans would have railed against any pick the President might make, but there would have been little they could have done about it. The people of the USA had elected a Democrat as President and a majority of Democrats in the Congress. Elections matter.
If 4 years ago the people had elected Mitt Romney, and we still had a Republican controlled Senate today, Republicans would be saying the President (who would be in the middle of a reelection campaign) should select a replacement, and the Senate would likely confirm that replacement. Because elections matter.
Today, we have a Democrat on the Oval Office, and the people of the USA have elected a Republican controlled Senate. that was that Obama has every right, and even a duty, to nominate replacements. And the US Senate has every right and duty to hold hearings and to confirm or reject those nominations. Because elections matter.
We, the people of the USA, elect representatives to govern us. Our governing document, the US Constitution, has a series of checks and balances. In this case, one branch of the government (Executive) cannot unilaterally appoint members of another (Judicial). The Legislative branch has the right and requirement to weigh in on the process. This is done through “advice and consent” not just advice.
We, the people, influence these decisions by electing people who reflect our will. If we had not elected a majority of Republicans to the Senate, then the President would likely nominate and see his nomination confirmed. But we didn’t. Elections matter.