President Obama has nominated Merrick B. Garland to be the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice. In most years, this would be an historic but typical act for a president. But this is not like most years.
In coming days and weeks we’ll hear heated arguments from both sides in what promises to be one of the most vitriolic Supreme Court nomination battles in history. Republican leaders are already on record that they will not consider any replacement nominee from Mr. Obama. Democrats will counter that Republicans are violating their constitutional duty to consider the president’s candidate. They will likewise brand their opponents as obstructionists who put party ahead of the nation.
Republicans will counter that they have the constitutional right to respond to the president’s nomination as they wish. And they will cite a lack of precedent for a president to nominate a Supreme Court justice during the last year of his second term.
The crux of the issue, however, is simple.
The New York Times notes: “The outcome of the Washington clash could determine whether Mr. Obama gets to set the direction of American jurisprudence for decades. After the death last month of Mr. Scalia, a leading conservative, the court is evenly divided, with four liberal justices and four conservatives. A new justice appointed by Mr. Obama could be the deciding vote in several close cases.”
In other words, both parties see this nomination as critical to their future.
Unfortunately, each party feels the need to defend its position by citing related issues it judges to be more politically expedient. I would guess that both sides would use the other side’s arguments if their positions were reversed. Don’t you long for a day when political leaders simply tell the truth and trust the people?
Our Lord seeks the same from his followers.
When we obscure the truth, usually the reason is that we don’t want to pay the price for honesty. Jesus noted that the world “hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7). Candor comes at a cost.
Why pay it? Because we fear God more than we fear people. Our Lord “cuts off the spirit of princes” and “is to be feared by the kings of the earth” (Psalm 76:12). If we would fear the most powerful man on earth, how much more should we fear the King of the universe?
So speak the truth in love today (Ephesians 4:15). You will distinguish yourself from the moral relativism of our culture. You will please your Father and follow the example of your Savior. And you will know the One who is the Truth (John 14:6).
“When I found truth, there I found my God, who is the truth itself” (Augustine).