With the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, we can expect a major discussion (near war might be a more appropriate description) about his replacement. The statists are salivating over the possibility of another justice such as Sotomayor or Kagan, justices who would rubber stamp big, intrusive government. Freedom lovers, on the other hand have reason to fear such a new justice. There is little doubt that President Obama will try to put another of their ilk on the court; the only hope for liberty is the Senate.
Supreme Court justices have lifetime tenure, barring retirement or impeachment – and we have never impeached one of them. Each is effectively one fifth of a dictatorship since five justices can make a rule from which there is no appeal.
We must get the right people on that court.
Sadly, in recent years the biggest absence in the Senate has been Republican backbone. Republicans won big in the 2014 election, primarily on the basis of voter opposition to Obama's overreach. Yet they have failed to use their majority to block that overreach. Indeed, earlier they could have blocked Sotomayor and Kagan. They had the votes, along with reason to believe those two would be exactly the kind of justices they have turned out to be. Yet the Republicans acquiesced like a drunk giving in to the offer of another drink. Checks and balances were AWOL.
Our senators take an oath to defend the Constitution. They have not only a right, but a sworn duty to reject any prospective judge who is likely to weaken that Constitution. That duty is especially important when they consider Supreme Court appointments. They must insist on the following requirements before they approve any judge:
Commitment to Constitution and Law
Subordination of Personal Belief to Law and Constitution
Knowledge of law and Constitution
The inner strength to stand up for what is right.
(Detail and reasoning behind those requirements is found on pp132-134 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom?).
There must be no compromise on those requirements. Any prospective justice who fails in even one of them is not qualified to occupy the bench.