Republican senator from Nebraska says Congress too often punts its power to the executive branch to avoid taking responsibility and promote reelection.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse tore into his own branch of government Tuesday as he slammed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's hearing process as an “overblown, politicized circus.”
At the Judiciary Committee hearing, the Nebraska senator blamed a dysfunctional Congress for the overheated drama surrounding high court nominations. As the opening day devolved into a spectacle of protests and objections, Sasse explained there's so much "hysteria" and pressure with regard to the court because "Congress has decided to self-neuter."
He lamented that the Supreme Court justices, in turn, are expected to be "super legislators." This "misunderstanding of the role of the Supreme Court,” he argued, accounts for the vitriolic rhetoric aimed at Kavanaugh.
At least two dozen people were arrested on the first day of the confirmation hearing, as they disrupted the proceedings with protests of Kavanaugh. Senate Democrats, too, continuously interrupted the opening statements of the hearing with calls to delay the proceedings.
However, Sasse said the rhetoric isn’t new to just Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Instead, he said the hearings “haven’t worked for 31 years in America” and said “screaming protesters saying ‘women are going to die’” have been present at these hearings for decades. He criticized the legislature for “giving away its power” to make the Supreme Court a “substitute political battleground.”
“The hysteria around Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings is coming from the fact that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Supreme Court in American life now,” Sasse said. “Our political commentary talks about the Supreme Court like they are people wearing red and blue jerseys; that’s a really dangerous thing.”
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