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May 15, 2015

Hillary Declares That Any SCOTUS Nominee Will Be Ethically Unfit To Serve On High Court

Not too many days ago, former Texas governor Rick Perry noted that the 2016 presidential election is of great importance because it will decide the sort of justices that end up on the Supreme Court, given the advanced age and health issues of several sitting justices. Hillary Clinton has now made this a major issue by indicating that she is going to demand a commitment on the part of any nominee to pre-judge the outcome of cases and promise to overturn a precedent that she opposes.

Hillary Clinton told a group of her top fundraisers Thursday that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court will have to share her belief that the court's 2010 Citizens United decision must be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks.

Clinton's emphatic opposition to the ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on independent political activity, garnered the strongest applause of the afternoon from the more than 200 party financiers gathered in Brooklyn for a closed-door briefing from the Democratic candidate and her senior aides, according to some of those present.

"She got major applause when she said would not name anybody to the Supreme Court unless she has assurances that they would overturn" the decision, said one attendee, who, like others, requested anonymity to describe the private session.

If the make-up of the court does not change by 2017, four of the justices will be 78 years of age or older by the time the next president is inaugurated.

Clinton’s pledge to use opposition to Citizens United as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees echoes the stance taken by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is challenging her for the Democratic nomination.


Such a commitment would make any nominee unfit for confirmation. Set aside, if you will, your opinion of the decision in Citizens United. It is never appropriate for a president to extract such a commitment from a nominee to any court. What would be the response be to a Republican candidate who stated that he/she would not nominate anyone to the High Court who did not commit to overturning Roe v. Wade – or the impending decision that is likely to constitutionalize a right to gay marriage? There would be howls of outrage, and any nominee made by that candidate if elected would be viewed as falling outside the ethical norms of the legal profession – because a judge is supposed to judge based upon the facts, the law, and the Constitution, not upon the whims and campaign promises of the president who put them on the bench.

The proper response? Any GOP candidate for US Senate must commit to rejecting each and every Clinton judicial nominee – especially Supreme Court nominees – as irremediably tainted by Mrs. Clinton’s remark.

Doug Mataconis has a great take on Citizens United and Hillary’s pledge over at Outside the Beltway.





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