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Bernie Sanders’ Extreme Supreme Court Litmus Test

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April 18, 2016

At last week’s Democratic debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders reiterated his stance that, as president, he would only consider nominating someone to the Supreme Court if they publicly committed to overturning Citizens United. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Michael McGough contrasts that litmus test with the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who, during her nomination hearing in 1993, said: “It would be wrong for me to say or preview in this legislative chamber how I would cast my vote on questions the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide. A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.” But Sanders said during the Brooklyn debate that he would ask President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Merrick Garland. “I think we need a Supreme Court justice who will make it crystal clear, and this nominee has not yet done that, crystal clear that he or she will vote to overturn Citizens United and make sure that American democracy is not undermined.” McGough counters that any judge who passed Sanders’ litmus test would likely be rated unqualified by the American Bar Association, and “in the unlikely event that such a nominee were confirmed, he or she would (rightly) be pressed not to participate in any case that might put Citizens United in jeopardy.”

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