April 22, 2010 – Article II of the U.S. Constitution – Cathy Gillespie
A big thank you to Andrew Langer for his thoughtful post today!
As I read Article II, I am struck by the incredible wisdom and foresight of the founders. While the electoral college is true to the Republic form of government they envisioned, it is more necessary today than ever. With massive population centers concentrated in a few large states, if it were not for the electoral college, states such as New Mexico, or New Hampshire, would simply be “fly over” territory in today’s Presidential campaigns. The electoral college system ensures that individuals running for President in our country visit many diverse areas and states, and that a wider group of American citizens have an opportunity to affect the Presidential campaigns, and election outcome.
Section 2 is timely as well, as we may soon be seeing more Supreme Court nominations. It is interesting to note the punctuation in this phrase: “he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint….” It is soley the President’s prerogative who he nominates, but the Senate is empowered to give “advice and consent,” on the actual appointment. “Advice and consent” of the Senate for the President’s Supreme Court nominees is a rare convergence of the three branches of government, and differing philosophies have prevailed over the years as to what standards the Senate should utilize in determining their “advice and consent.” Should the Senate evaluate the President’s Supreme Court nominees on their judicial experience, intellect and temperment alone, or should the nominee’s ideology and judicial point of view be taken into account? The Constitution provides no definition of what criteria the Senate should utilize in their “advice and consent” duty, and different standards have been applied over the years. It does seem that in recent confirmation battles, ideology has been a more predominant factor in the process.
As we watch the next Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation, whenever it occurs, we should remember that we are watching our founders’ vision in action.
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See you tomorrow for Article 3!!