Senate Confirmation Hearings: Let’s Get Rid Of ‘Em

 

Problem: judicial confirmation hearings have turned into a circus, especially when it’s a Republican president making the nomination.

Solution: let’s ditch the public hearing.

There’s no Constitutional requirement that the Senate hold a public hearing so that committee members can make nice clips for media consumption. The only reason why we have them is because Brandeis, who was Jewish, was nominated and it caused an outcry so he went to the hearing to reassure everyone he wasn’t that radical.

The nominee can still go to Capitol Hill to make the rounds and visit with Senators and answer their questions. Senators can still issue their template press releases stating their opposition. The media-savvy ones can even come up with entertaining ways of making their opposition known. But the main thing is you get rid of the show that the hearings have become and that should benefit the republic.

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  1. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    I agree.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bereket Kelile: (First off, it’s been awhile since my last post so apologies if I’m repeating a post. I tried looking it up past posts to make sure I’m not being redundant.)

    I think it was just yesterday we had two different people link to the same video debate within about four conversations. I have not seen anything like your proposal, though, and it’s an interesting bit of history. Also, I am in favor of the idea.

    • #2
  3. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    I think it would be better to remove cameras from hearings, so that senators can use them for the intended purpose – to find facts – and not grand stand.

    They could still be open to the public – just not tv crews.

    • #3
  4. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    This would be a vast improvement. I’ve never been more disgusted with the Senate as I was that day. What a sham, pretending it was a “hearing,”as if any Democrats didn’t already know how they would vote. Removing the cameras to preclude all the grandstanding would be an improvement if abolishing it couldn’t happen.

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    The mere presence of a television camera distorts everything. And I mean everything. Which is why I also like to remind people that there’s no such thing as reality television.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    EJHill (View Comment):

    The mere presence of a television camera distorts everything. And I mean everything. Which is why I also like to remind people that there’s no such thing as reality television.

    “Hi, Mom!”

    • #6
  7. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    They could still be open to the public – just not tv crews.

    In this day and age, someone in the gallery would pull out a cell phone and stream it to the world.

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    For no reason I can think of, that picture reminds me of Harry what’s his name, the Night Court judge.

    • #8
  9. Mendel Member
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    This is a great proposal. Even more so when you consider that nobody in the viewing public actually watches the confirmation hearings. They’re just hours of talking designed to provide a few sound bites (from both the nominee and the Senators) that can be weaponized later.

    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    For no reason I can think of, that picture reminds me of Harry what’s his name, the Night Court judge.

    Harry Anderson, playing Judge Harry Stone.

    • #10
  11. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    As far as I know this is not redundant. I had been thinking about a similar post, but had not had time to research and write it. I have been watching to see if someone else did it.  It is original.

    • #11
  12. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    It seems to me that the decision whether or not to have a hearing could be made by the majority party. Of course, the minority would call foul.

    • #12
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I agree. I love that the Supreme Court does not allow cameras. If they can do it, so can Congress. 

    And if someone violates it, it would be easy enough to prosecute them. 

    • #13
  14. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    The sad thing about this process to my mind, is that the real issue with Kavanaugh’s judgement where ignored.

    They spent their time looking for definitions of ‘ralphing’ instead of demanding an explanation for his views on the 4th amendment. Which are a far more consequential than the definition of ‘ralphing’.

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I couldn’t agree more.  These confirmation hearings are nothing more than political ads paid for by the taxpayer.  No cameras, no spectators . . . not even a hearing.  If a Senator can’t go over the nominee’s track record (previous rulings, other related experience) to rach a decision, then they shouldn’t be a Senator.  Besides, we all know (thanks to Sparticus) a Senator’s vote is based on ideology anyway.

    • #15
  16. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I think the requirement should be that the Senate just has to hold an up or down vote on each nominee within x days of his nomination being submitted. No procedural games should be allowed. 

    • #16
  17. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    And if someone violates it, it would be easy enough to prosecute them. 

    It would be easy enough to prosecute all the protestors who disrupted the Kavanaugh hearings, too, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • #17
  18. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause.  The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders.  The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    • #18
  19. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause. The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders. The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    Lincoln came up with a clever way of undercutting the Court without openly defying them. I’ve often thought we should think of similar ways to neutralize the Court. At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that but there are smarter people than me who can come up with some bright ideas.

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):
    At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that

    How about a tank blocking their private entrance into the building?  Hehe . . .

    • #20
  21. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    It’s like proposing the end of the SOTU address, which isn’t required by law either. If the politicians involved think they benefit from it, fat chance. 

    • #21
  22. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause. The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders. The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    Lincoln came up with a clever way of undercutting the Court without openly defying them. I’ve often thought we should think of similar ways to neutralize the Court. At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that but there are smarter people than me who can come up with some bright ideas.

    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban. There would be no way to stop the court from acquitting defendants prosecuted under laws it finds unconstitutional, which means it could effectively still overturn some types of laws, but in cases where this isn’t the issue all it takes is a little courage on the part of the President or Congress.  

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bob W (View Comment):
    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban.

    Exactly.  Courts have very little enforcement mechanisms.  Tell the public the ruling was bogus, and move on.

    • #23
  24. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Bob W (View Comment):

    It’s like proposing the end of the SOTU address, which isn’t required by law either. If the politicians involved think they benefit from it, fat chance.

    That’s a very different and, I don’t think, related example. The hearings don’t benefit the nominee whereas the SOTU address does benefit the President.

    • #24
  25. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Stad (View Comment):

    Bob W (View Comment):
    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban.

    Exactly. Courts have very little enforcement mechanisms. Tell the public the ruling was bogus, and move on.

    I would be all for impeaching a President who refuses to comply with a final court ruling.  Any president.  Either party. 

    Your solution would lead to anarchy, pure and simple.  I strongly suggest that you reconsider your stance.

     

    • #25
  26. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Bob W (View Comment):

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause. The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders. The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    Lincoln came up with a clever way of undercutting the Court without openly defying them. I’ve often thought we should think of similar ways to neutralize the Court. At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that but there are smarter people than me who can come up with some bright ideas.

    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban. There would be no way to stop the court from acquitting defendants prosecuted under laws it finds unconstitutional, which means it could effectively still overturn some types of laws, but in cases where this isn’t the issue all it takes is a little courage on the part of the President or Congress.

    How about the immediate impeachment and removal of the President.  No one is above the law.  We are a nation of laws, not men.

    • #26
  27. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    They could still be open to the public – just not tv crews.

    In this day and age, someone in the gallery would pull out a cell phone and stream it to the world.

    The signals could always be jammed – FCC might have to change their rules, however.  

    • #27
  28. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Bob W (View Comment):

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause. The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders. The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    Lincoln came up with a clever way of undercutting the Court without openly defying them. I’ve often thought we should think of similar ways to neutralize the Court. At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that but there are smarter people than me who can come up with some bright ideas.

    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban. There would be no way to stop the court from acquitting defendants prosecuted under laws it finds unconstitutional, which means it could effectively still overturn some types of laws, but in cases where this isn’t the issue all it takes is a little courage on the part of the President or Congress.

    Sounds like Jackson’s “The Supreme Court has made their ruling, now let them enforce it.”

    To my opinion, this is the major weakness in our Constititution.  We have three branches, and they may be separate but equal (I’m not convinced that’s true today), it’s just that the Judicial branch is more equal than the others.

    • #28
  29. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bereket Kelile: The only reason why we have them is because Brandeis, who was Jewish, was nominated and it caused an outcry so he went to the hearing to reassure everyone he wasn’t that radical.

    I did not know this.  Fascinating.  

    • #29
  30. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Chuckles (View Comment):

    Bob W (View Comment):

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    However, it’s understandable that the hearings have become such a public spectacle in light of the increasing importance of the Supreme Court. Both parties have now officially delegated large chunks of their legislating power to the Supreme Court (the left with social issues, the right in their attempt to repeal Obamacare). So it’s only natural that the voters in a democracy would be interested in meeting the people who will now be wielding such great power over them.

    Completely agree, this is the root cause. The Court has emerged as the most powerful branch of government, since it can strike down both legislation passed by Congress and executive orders. The only effective way to overrule the Court is to pass a Constitutional Amendment, and the bar for that is so high it is next to impossible on any contentious issue.

    Lincoln came up with a clever way of undercutting the Court without openly defying them. I’ve often thought we should think of similar ways to neutralize the Court. At the very least, some kind of signal should be sent to get them to back off of legislating from the bench. I have no idea how to do that but there are smarter people than me who can come up with some bright ideas.

    You could start by the political branches ignoring rulings that ordered them to take or not take certain actions, such as the court telling the president he can’t enforce a travel ban. There would be no way to stop the court from acquitting defendants prosecuted under laws it finds unconstitutional, which means it could effectively still overturn some types of laws, but in cases where this isn’t the issue all it takes is a little courage on the part of the President or Congress.

    Sounds like Jackson’s “The Supreme Court has made their ruling, now let them enforce it.”

    To my opinion, this is the major weakness in our Constititution. We have three branches, and they may be separate but equal (I’m not convinced that’s true today), it’s just that the Judicial branch is more equal than the others.

    The three branches are not checks and balances as much as they are a cabal. 

    • #30

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