Op-Ed: Did the Founders Leave Something Critical Out of the Constitution?
Is Vice President Kamala Harris uniquely unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice?
Concerning this burning question facing our republic, the Constitution is silent. It says nothing about Supreme Court justice qualifications. Perhaps the Founders failed to add constitutional parameters for one simple reason — it simply didn’t occur to them.
Why would it? Jefferson, Franklin and the other exceptional men who crafted our founding documents and created our country likely didn’t foresee the towering mediocrity that would pervade America’s future. They daily rubbed shoulders with intelligent and learned contemporaries, not so much with petty and partisan politicians.
Perhaps in their creative fervor, they didn’t consider the possibility of a future career senator whose only gift was for gab (and gaffes) becoming president and picking a vice president who’s even less talented.
We mustn’t blame them for our troubles. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring and his seat must be filled. In a few short months, there’ll be a black female nominee and Senate confirmation hearings.
Beyond her race and gender, is Harris qualified to be a Supreme Court justice? Constitutionally, anyone, regardless of education or experience or profession, is qualified. Again, there are no constitutional requirements for a shot at a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
Maybe it’s time for a constitutional clarification. If so, why not consider an upper age limit on presidential candidates? Maybe 72? While we’re at it, what about a minimum age for congressional hopefuls?
Should only judges be nominated to Supreme Court vacancies? Seems like considering a lawyer and now-VP would be like interviewing a flight attendant for an Air Force One pilot opening. No offense to hardworking flight attendants, but no one wants one piloting a plane.
Thankfully, the Harris-for-Supreme Court talk is almost surely silly stuff. She’s a minority and a woman, which is where it begins and ends. Besides, she’s got bigger ideas for her future — namely, her boss’ job.
Can anyone imagine Harris poring over legal briefs when, according to reports, she barely glances at her own? Cackling hysterically in response to difficult questions won’t fly in confirmation hearings, much less on the court.
What about Stacey Abrams? As far as political ambition goes, she’s like Harris, only a much better communicator. Abrams would be a candidate of intelligence and imagination. With surprising conviction, she imagined herself the sitting governor of Georgia for months after losing its gubernatorial election.
As a nation plagued with poor leadership and governance, perhaps it’s time we move to create a constitutional framework to prevent future unqualified nominees.
And make no mistake — Harris would make an eminently unqualified Supreme Court justice nominee. Never mind that she got through law school and served as California attorney general. At the very least, she lacks the necessary temperament.
Unlike the office of vice president, which is more or less an appointment based on political expediency, the Supreme Court is expected to curb (not aid and abet) unconstitutional overreach.
Supreme Court Justice Kamala Harris? Not likely.
If President Joe Biden wasn’t so interested in making a transcendent pick, would it be at all surprising to see him give the formerly jilted nominee and now-Attorney General Merrick Garland another shot?
Regardless, the right thing for Biden — or any president — to do would be to nominate the best candidate available. Ideally, he or she would be a constitutionalist, not an ideologue, and the choice would be based on merit, not race or gender.
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