The deepest root of our United States government is in the Balance of Power between the Executive Branch (the President), Judicial Branch (Supreme Court), and the Legislative Branch (Congress). It was so designed to provide protection from future abuse of power by one person and/or one group of people to completely overtake the government, and destroy the system of checks and balances that have held this democracy together for 238 years.
While there has been much dispute about this 114th Congress for appearing to hold country hostage over political budget disputes; or for questionably traitorous behavior sending a signed letter to Iran's leaders warning them against cutting a nuclear deal with the Obama administration. But this latest difficulty in blatantly avoiding a replacement for the empty seat on the Supreme Court, is a crime against all American citizens, and their right to a fair and balanced justice system.
The Court's annual session begins the 1st Monday in October and ends on the same date the following year. The process of selecting cases to be heard takes place first, then individual cases are presented. The Justices spend time writing their opinions, then reconvene to make their collective judgment. The final decision will either uphold the decision of the last court ruling, or will rule the law in question unconstitutional, or in need of revision.
The Supreme Court Constitutionally requires 9 judges. When the court is tied in their opinions on any case, the 9th assures a deciding vote. In the current situation having only 8 justices, opinion of the court can only be completed if the vote is not tied. Otherwise there is no way to break a tie, leaving the case to the most recent decision by a lower court intact, whether or not it is Constitutionally sound. There is no second chance.
Cases currently being decided involve important questions, like how to count the number of voters in any given district for the best representation. Can workers can sue for overtime? Can employers raise religious objection providing contraception to women as part of employer-provided health insurance? Can a single state lawfully restrict abortions and outlaw abortion clinics? None of these issues can be judiciously decided without a fully-seated Supreme Court, in which case there are instances of potentially overturning existing laws without due process.
As an example, on the Supreme Court docket is one death penalty case involving a black man convicted by an all-white jury after black jurors were systematically excluded by the prosecution. Regardless of hard copy proof, the prosecution denies any wrong-doing. When this case comes to judgment, if the opinions of the Court are tied, not only would a man denied his rights to a fair trial be executed by the time the Court's vacancy is filled, nothing would be accomplished to protect against the continued issue of discrimination in the selection of jury members. This not only manipulates the outcome of a jury's verdict, but denies all citizens the right to participate as jurists when called for duty.
The sad thing is most Americans don't appear to realize the actual implications involved in this delay of appointing a 9th justice, which have nothing to do with historical precedence, election years, conservatives or liberals, or even partisan politics. It has everything to do with the right of all American citizens to have an unbroken justice system.
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