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Jim DeMint Doesn't Know His Job Description

Reported by Janie - February 1, 2006

Senator Jim DeMint (R - SC) appeared on Dayside yesterday along side Senator Jeff Bingaman (D - NM) to discuss the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and after a very leading question provided by Dayside host Juliet Huddy, DeMint summed up exactly how the Republicans in Congress view their jobs.

During the interview, Huddy asked DeMint "Your colleague, Orrin Hatch, said that the Democrats basically behaved despicably, that was the term that he used. Do you agree, and if so, what did you think was despicable, or you can use your own word to describe the process."

After a long-winded diatribe about how "despicable" Democrats are, he summed up exactly what he believes his position in Congress entails, "Our role as senators is to give him a fair vote and confirm him."

Article I of the Constitution lays out what the job of a Senator is. After reading through it, there is no mention that the "role of a senator" is to give a fair vote and confirm the nomination from the President. As a matter of fact, there is no mention in Article I about how the Senate should vote on nominations made by the President.

Article II, Section 2 lays out the job of the President, and has this to say about the nomination of Supreme Court Judges: "...and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court..."

Advice: "Opinion about what could or should be done about a situation or problem; counsel."
Consent: "agreement as to action or opinion"

So according to the Constitution, the job of a Senator is to offer advice about the Supreme Court Nominee, and provide "consent" if they choose to. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about rubber stamping the President's nominations or providing an "up-or-down" vote. If the Senate's role is to simply confirm a justice without any hesitation as DeMint suggests, why in the world would our forefathers have felt it necessary to include the stipulation that the Senate must agree with the nomination?

Maybe the reason 57% of Americans feel the United States is on the wrong track, is in part due to the fact that our Senators, meant to provide a check and balance to the President, don't even know what their job description entails.

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