Jim Hickey’s American Politics

Let's Get Real.

Senator Sanders Admits He Would Impose a Litmus Test on Supreme Court Justices

In terms of the American judiciary, it has been considered anathema for the United States Senate to even suggest imposing litmus test on Supreme Court nominees. This is because in principle, a justice should be considered for the high court based on their qualifications not for any nuanced political view. It is understood that a conservative president will appoint likeminded justices to the high court. This was evident when President George W. Bush appointed Samuel Alito, John Roberts, and Antonin Scalia to the high court. Likewise, President Obama appointed liberal-minded justices in the form of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

That will all change if Bernie Sanders is elected president. The feisty Vermont Senator admits he would impose a litmus test on anyone he would consider appointing to the Supreme Court. In the past, a litmus test has been code word for the justice’s support or opposition to abortion. In the case of Sen. Sanders, the litmus test he would impose is in regards to opposing the Citizen’s United ruling. The political left has decried the Citizen’s United ruling of 2010. This is because it led to the Supreme Court striking down over 100 years of congressional free speech abridgments. In consequence, it opened to door to more Super PAC donations. Sen. Sanders believes the ruling has turned American politics into an auction of billionaire bidders according to Alexei Beltyukov. However, Super PACs, in their present form, largely evolved as a result of the 2001 McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act which was largely gutted by the Citizen’s United ruling. Still, the senator is making billionaire Super PAC donations a presidential campaign issue.

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