Remember Merrick Garland? The man obama nominated to replace Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court. Well, there has been a lawsuit pending since August 2016 brought by a New Mexico lawyer seeking to force the Senate to act on Garland’s nomination, arguing that the failure to do so,
“created a constitutional crisis that threatens the balance and separation of power among our three branches of government.” TheWashingtonPost
The biggest problem with the plaintiff’s case is that the premise is wrong. The Senate is not required, no matter how often or loudly leftists claim it so, to act on any Presidential nomination. But rather than tackle that issue, courts usually focus on the issue of standing – basically whether or not the person or entity bring suit has actually suffered individual harm.
Here the plaintiff alleged that he was among those who,
“had the effectiveness of their vote for United States senators diminished” because the senators who represent him have been denied their ability to vote on Garland’s nomination.
The problem with that assertion is that the plaintiff is no different than any other American. And such undifferentiated harm, courts generally find, is not an individualized harm such as needed for standing. Rather such generalized harm in the political realm is seen as a political question, and not one suitable for judicial action.
“This alleged diminution of his vote for United States Senators is the type of undifferentiated harm common to all citizens that is appropriate for redress in the political sphere: his claim is not that he has been unable to cast votes for Senators, but that his home-state Senators have been frustrated by the rules and leadership of the United States Senate. This is far from the type of direct, individualized harm that warrants judicial review.” HotAir
The Court’s 3 page decision to dismiss the case for lack of standing can be seen here.
The legal consensus is that this case never had a chance to move forward. But in a time where judicial activism is the order of the day, it’s nice to see that even obama’s leftist packed DC Circuit can get one right.