United States Senator Ben Sasse takes Congress to task, stating conflicts over Supreme Court nominees arise, because it is shirking its responsibilities.
Sasse, a Republican on the Judiciary Committee, takes the opportunity of opening remarks during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing to accuse Congress of shrinking from its duty, shifting political power to the federal bureaucracy and the courts.
Sasse says the drastic tone taken by opponents of Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court is nothing new.
“But really, the reason these hearings don’t work is not because of Donald Trump, it’s not because of anything these last 20 months; these confirmation hearings haven’t worked for 31 years in America,” Sasse tells colleagues during his turn at the mic. “People are going to pretend that Americans have no historical memory and supposedly there haven’t been screaming protestors saying, ‘Women are going to die’ at every hearing for decades. But this has been happening since Robert Bork.”
Kavanaugh currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. President Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Anthony Kennedy as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Sasse contends the “hysteria around Supreme Court confirmation hearings” stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Supreme Court.
Sasse makes four points to explain his stance. First, the legislative branch should be the center of politics. Second, Congress is “impotent” as it delegates more and more legislative authority to the executive branch in the form of the federal bureaucracy. Third, this transfer of power leaves people yearning for a place to practice politics, increasingly substituting the Supreme Court as the political battleground. Fourth, the balance of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government needs to be restored.
“Congress has decided to self-neuter,” according to Sasse, giving up its power to the federal bureaucracy and since the average citizen cannot maneuver through the federal bureaucracy, they turn to the Supreme Court looking for politics.
Sasse says when people clamor for empathy from their justices, they really are expressing the desire for the judiciary to do something Congress refuses to do.
“The hyperventilating that we see in this process and the way that today’s hearing started with 90 minutes of theatrics that are pre-planned with certain members of the other side here, it shows us a system that is wildly out of whack,” Sasse says.
A restoration of the balance of power is needed, according to Sasse.
“The solution here is not to try to find judges who will be policy makers. The solution is not to try to turn the Supreme Court into an election battle for TV. The solution is to restore a proper constitutional order with the balance of powers.”
AUDIO: Sen. Ben Sasse gives opening remarks during Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearing before Judiciary Committee. [15:15]