Halloween is right around the corner and Washington, D.C. is teeming with pumpkins, ghost décor, and… a vacancy on the nation’s highest court, the United States Supreme Court.
It’s been over 250 days since the Supreme Court vacancy began, leaving the court with just eight justices, and seven months since President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat. But some senators have blocked this effort, refusing to give Garland so much as a hearing. Without nine justices, our nation’s highest court risks being unable to make decisions, with the possibility of splitting 4-4. Moreover, by politicizing the Supreme Court, Senate obstructionists are only serving to further erode our country’s trust in government.
So, just in time for Halloween, here are 7 reasons why not having a fully-staffed, fully-functioning Supreme Court is scarier than any spooky movie you might watch this month.
1. Ties on Supreme Court decisions are scarier than the ties that stopped Regan from levitating during “The Exorcist.”
With eight justices on the bench, the court runs the risk of splitting 4-4. In this case, the court would be unable to set national precedent, and the lower court’s decision would stay the same but only apply to that court’s jurisdiction. Since the vacancy opened up, there have been multiple 4-4 ties, meaning we have been unable to receive answers to some of the most important questions of our time.
2. Cutting off the judicial branch’s ability to “check and balance” the other arms of government is scarier than John Kramer from Saw cutting off limbs.
America’s three arms of government rely on checks and balances to ensure no one branch is too powerful. Without a full Supreme Court, the function of judicial review is threatened. With just eight justices, the Supreme Court’s power to check the other arms of government is limited, curtailing the intricate system of checks and balances our nation’s founders created.
3. With just eight justices, the Supreme Court’s decisions are like Frankenstein’s monster: disparate, and stitched together.
As the independent, non-partisan branch of government, the Supreme Court ensures that, at the end of the day, we as a nation come together to have a uniform framework of law. But when obstructionist senators play partisan games, the Supreme Court cannot make important decisions, leaving our country with a confusing patchwork system of laws.
4. Breaking the record for the longest time between a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation is scarier than the alien breaking out of Kane’s chest in “Alien.”
It’s been seven months since President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Since then, Congress has not held so much as a hearing on Garland’s nomination—the longest any Supreme Court nominee has ever had to wait.
5. A lifeless Congress is scarier than an alive Chucky.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution clearly outlines Congress’ job: to hold a hearing to confirm or deny the president’s nomination for a Supreme Court justice. In not doing so, Congress is simply living up to the public’s perception that it is gridlocked and lifeless.
6. Chasing away Millennials by increasing partisanship is scarier than being chased by Freddy Kreuger.
Millennials eschew hyperpartisanship, and Congress’ abdication of their constitutional responsibility to consider Supreme Court nominees only adds to our jaded view of politics.
7. Sucking the life out of the American political process is scarier Dracula sucking the life out of his victims.
There is ample historical precedent for speedy, non-partisan consideration and confirmation of judicial nominees. By not following this tradition, Senate obstructionists are sucking the list out of the American political process.