Following the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, controversy quickly arose regarding his predecessor. The absence of Justice Scalia leaves the court, which typically seats nine members, at an even eight votes currently.
President Obama nominated the Chief Justice of the US Court of Appeals, Merrick Garland, for the position. However, it is up to the Senate to hear and approve this nomination. This is where the controversy currently lies.
As with many issues, each party has taken their stance on the current situation. Democrats feel that the nominee deserves to at least be taken into consideration and given a proper vote, as it is Congress’ constitutional duty to do so in a timely manner. Senate Republicans feel that during such a turbulent election season, Congress should not appoint a justice who will serve for life. They feel that the nomination should be reserved for the next president, therefore giving the people a say in what type of justice takes on the role by voting in November.
81% of surveyed NH-S students believe that the Senate needs to hold a hearing and vote for Merrick Garland and any other nominee put forward.
“It's the president's duty to nominate and the congress's duty to hold hearings no matter the year or party affiliation,” explained one survey respondent.
The majority of students felt that a hearing and vote should be held, because the vacancy is of the utmost importance to fill. It is the Senate’s duty to follow through with the process at minimum, even if the do not confirm the nominee.
“This is part of their job. If they refuse to do this, they shouldn't get paid,” another respondent said. “Because they haven't really done much of anything.”
73% of students say they would feel the same way if a Republican candidate was elected into the White House, and 86% if a Democrat were elected.
As our polls show, NH-S high school students feel that “everyone deserves an equal chance,” as one respondent said.