Dr. E. Faye Williams
TriceEdney — Like most Americans, I was shocked to learn that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died. His decisions and many of his remarks showed us to be polar opposites in political and social thinking. The nature and substance of the controversy and debate between Justice Scalia and his detractors are a fundamental part of our political system. In his own way, for over thirty years, Justice Scalia served his country as he believed he should.
Not surprisingly, the controversy for which he was known in life follows Justice Scalia into his death. The question that looms over the nation is whether it is right for President Barack Obama to exercise his Constitutional responsibility and send a nominee to the Senate for the Supreme Court vacancy or whether he should defer that duty to the next President, causing the Supreme Court to function without a full Court. President Obama is unequivocal and steadfast in his commitment to the responsibilities of his job for the FULL duration of his term which does not end until January 20, 2017.
The dis-loyal opposition (Conservative Republicans) hasmade it quite clear that they want the President to abrogate his responsibilities for one, or several, specious and illogical reasons. Within moments of the announcement of Justice Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Senate would not consider a nominee submitted by President Obama. Senate Judiciary CommitteeChairman Charles Grassley stated that a committee hearing would not be held for a nominee submitted by President Obama. What their reasoning really demonstrates is the continuance of the same animus with which they began on the first day of his administration. Their rationale and hollow justification in opposition to President Obama doing his job translates to ABO – Anybody but Obama.
Now is the time in this article that I digress and issue an “I told you so!” During the 2014 election cycle I was adamant about the need for our community to visit the polling places in record numbers. I admonished every voter I knew and most that I didn’t to consider the problem of a Republican controlled Senate. As Malcolm X and later Jeremiah Reverend Wright said so eloquently, “The chickens have come home to roost.” The failure of the collective Progressive voter turnout is now evident in this process of selecting a new Supreme Court Justice.
Traditionally and historically, minorities and Progressives havefared much better under moderate or liberal courts. More importantly, the shift in power that would accompany a successful nomination by President Obama would, optimistically, impact on Supreme Court decisions for the next two generations or more.
What would that mean for the average citizen?
A moderate/liberal Court would be more likely to protect the ACA guaranteeing affordable healthcare for most American citizens.
A moderate/liberal Court would be more likely to render decisions that assure the restoration and protection of voting rights. The current “blind-eye” approach of the House, Senate and Supreme Court would be over-turned to broaden voter participation instead of the current trend to disenfranchise as many voters as possible.
Such a Court would be more likely to protect a woman’s right to choose and exercise self-determination in medical decisions; and equal pay for equal work would become a reality.
It’s likely we’d see the end of the Citizens United v. FEC case where the Court held that the 1st Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other.
We, the people, must take back our Supreme Court. Tell your Senator to let the President do his job so they can do theirs.
Dr. E. Faye Williams can be reached at: www.nationalcongressbw.org., or at: 202/678-6788