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为了民主,应给梅里克·加兰德一次投票表决的机会

发布时间:2016年08月30日 17:05  出处/来源:《华尔街日报》官网

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由于奥巴马总统提名梅里克·加兰德法官为新的最高法院大法官四个月了,参议院仍未进行听证表决,奥巴马总统于7月17日在《华尔街日报》发表文章,呼吁共和党与民主党合作,给加兰德法官一个听证和投票的机会,以解救目前美国面临的种种宪法上的困难。

为了民主,应给梅里克·加兰德一次投票表决的机会

巴拉克·奥巴马

美利坚合众国总统

过去四十多年来,从总统提名某人进入最高法院到他接受国会听证平均只需要两个多月。而现在,从我提名华盛顿特区巡回上诉法院首席法官梅里克·加兰德已经超过4个月了,国会进入了为期7周的休会期,没有给他听证机会,更别说上任还是不上任的投票了。

这远比华盛顿无法运作的典型例子更为严重。如果我们放任不管,国会不作为的后果会是削弱我们最重要的各种制度,侵蚀公众信任,破坏我们的民主。

1875年以来,任何一个没有退出提名过程的最高法院被提名人都获得了听证或投票表决的机会。即使是被提名人富有争议时也是如此。甚至当参议院和白宫被不同的党派掌控,分庭抗礼时也是如此。

但是加兰德首席法官并非饱含争议之人。他比我们历史上的任何一位最高法院大法官被提名人都更有联邦司法经验,他作为一个经验丰富、正直、有着无可指摘的资质的人,受到来自两党的人们的广泛尊敬。参议院共和党人的党派之见——拒绝给予一个给他的国家带来荣耀与尊严的法官听证的机会,不仅是对一个好人的侮辱,也是史无前例地增加危险。它威胁了我们赖以提名法官的程序,无论下一任总统是谁。因此,它应该引起每一个美国人的关注,只要他关心法治和支持使我们的民主得以运转的体制。

为什么?有史以来,当总统提名最高法院大法官的时候,无论这发生在其任期的什么时候,参议院都有义务行动起来。参议员们可以按照他们的良心自由投票,但他们会投票,这是他们的任务。

如果参议院的共和党人甚至拒绝考虑一个被提名人,而是希望耗尽时间,直到他们选出一个他们自己党派的总统,以至他可以提名他自己的大法官到最高法院,那么他们就可以有效地使任何一个来自对方党派的总统向国家的最高法院任命的权力无效。那样他们就会使政府司法分支的运行变成另一个政治博弈的基点。

我们不能允许对法官的确认过程堕入政治报复的无尽循环。那样的话,这片土地上就没有途径来填补最高法院的职位空缺,程序会一直停滞,法庭积压的工作会越来越多,政府的整个分支都无法履行其宪法职责,我们这个时代一些最重要的问题就无法得到回答。

这在两个方面令人困扰。第一,在每一个层面上,一个起作用的司法机关对国家事务至关重要。比如,上个月,陷入僵局的最高法院无法就几个重要问题做出裁决,使得法律处于悬而不决的状态。在全国,司法机关职位空缺导致一些下级法院诉讼案牍堆积如山,法官们应接不暇。全国下级法院已经宣布了29起司法紧急事件。司法职位空缺会对法院审判规程(jurisprudence)产生真正的影响,会给司法体系带来真实的财务成本,也会给等待这些案件结果的当事人的生活产生真实的后果。

第二,将最高法院当作政治足球来对待会让美国人民更加怀疑民主。当最高法院成为政治党派的代理人,公正独立的司法机构的公信力就会瓦解,而随之带来的缺乏信任则会削弱法治。

那么,该怎么办?参议院的民主党人和共和党人应该在他们从延长的休会期回归时同意给予加兰德首席法官一次听证机会,同时也承诺今后会在确定的时间范围内给予每一个最高法院被提名人一次听证和投票的机会。我的前任,乔治·W·布什总统在他的任期内所提的建议是一个很好的想法。这个合理的提议可以防止确认过程发生不可挽救的中断,并帮助恢复两党之间的诚信。

在我作为总统的环球旅行中,我见识到了民主有多困难,它需要的远多于一个宣言,一场选举。民主依赖于我们建立的制度,国家赖以奠基的规则和引导我们的行为、确保政治分歧绝不会凌驾于约束我们的立国理想之上的心灵传统、风俗和习惯。我们肩负保存和保护它们的责任。

现在我们需要国会行动起来,我们需要参议员们再一次向人们展示,美国有能力从分歧中走出来,维持对240年来让这场非凡实验取得成功的价值的忠诚。这是美国人民应得的,它也使得我们的国家成为世所公认的最伟大的国家。

本文中译本WELLS编辑团队版权所有,如需授权,请联系中国法学学术平台:editor@wells.org.cn或WELLS2016@163.com





Merrick Garland Deserves a Vote

—For Democracy’s Sake

Barack Obama

President of the United States

For more than 40 years, there has been an average of just over two months between a president’s nominating someone to the Supreme Court and that person’s receiving a hearing in Congress. It has now been more than four months since I nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—and Congress left town for a seven-week recess without giving him a hearing, let alone an up-or-down vote.

This is much more serious than your typical case of Washington dysfunction. And if we allow it to continue, the consequences of congressional inaction could weaken our most important institutions, erode public trust and undermine our democracy.

Every Supreme Court nominee since 1875 who hasn’t withdrawn from the process has received a hearing or a vote. Even when the nominee was controversial. Even when the Senate and the White House were held by different parties.

But Chief Judge Garland isn’t controversial. He has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in our history. He is widely respected by people of both political parties as a man of experience, integrity and unimpeachable qualifications. The partisan decision of Senate Republicans to deny a hearing to a judge who has served his country with honor and dignity is not just an insult to a good man—it is an unprecedented escalation of the stakes. It threatens the very process by which we nominate judges, regardless of who our next president is. And it should concern every American who cares about the rule of law and upholding the institutions that make our democracy work.

Here’s why. Historically, when a president nominates a Supreme Court justice—regardless of when in the presidential term this occurs—the Senate is obligated to act. Senators are free to vote their conscience. But they vote. That’s their job.

If Republicans in the Senate refuse even to consider a nominee in the hopes of running out the clock until they can elect a president from their own party, so that he can nominate his own justice to the Supreme Court, then they will effectively nullify the ability of any president from the opposing party to make an appointment to the nation’s highest court. They would reduce the very functioning of the judicial branch of the government to another political leverage point.

We cannot allow the judicial confirmation process to descend into an endless cycle of political retaliation. There would be no path to fill a vacancy for the highest court in the land. The process would stall. Court backlogs would grow. An entire branch of government would be unable to fulfill its constitutional role. And some of the most important questions of our time would go unanswered.

This is troubling for two reasons. First, a functioning judiciary—at every level—is essential to the business of the nation. For example, last month, a deadlocked Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision on several major issues, leaving the law itself in limbo. Across the country, judicial vacancies are leaving some lower courts so overwhelmed they can barely make it through their dockets. Twenty-nine judicial emergencies have been declared by lower courts across the country. This has real implications for jurisprudence, real financial costs to the judicial system and real consequences in the lives of people awaiting the outcomes of those cases.

Second, treating the Supreme Court like a political football makes the American people more cynical about democracy. When the Supreme Court becomes a proxy for political parties, public confidence in the notion of an impartial, independent judiciary breaks down. And the resulting lack of trust can undermine the rule of law.

So here’s an idea. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate could agree to give Chief Judge Garland a hearing when they return from their extended recess, while also committing to give every future qualified Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote within an established time frame. It’s a good idea that my predecessor, President George W. Bush, suggested during his time in office. This reasonable proposal would prevent the confirmation process from breaking down beyond repair, and help restore good faith between the two parties.

In my travels around the world as president, I have seen how hard democracy is—how it takes more than a proclamation or even an election. Democracies depend on the institutions we build, the rules upon which the nation is founded, and the traditions, customs and habits of heart that guide our behavior and ensure that political differences never override the founding ideals that bind us. And it is on us—all of us—to preserve and protect them.

Now we need Congress to act. We need senators to demonstrate that, once again, America has the capacity to rise above disagreements and maintain a fidelity to the values that, for 240 years, have made this extraordinary experiment a success. That’s what the American people deserve—and it’s what makes ours the greatest country the world has ever known.




Source: The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/merrick-garland-deserves-a-votefor-democracys-sake-1468797686





北京伟文盛业文化发展有限公司(Wells公司)系由北京北大英华科技有限公司投资控股、林文平先生投资创办、国务院法制办公室所属中国法制出版社入股共同建立的现代化股份制企业。公司首创的“Wells--法学平台” (China Legal Academics Portal), 系统整理和展示中国法学学术成果,将通过一系列的“Wells特色服务” 帮助中国法学学术成果走向世界,提升中国法学在世界法学界的地位和影响力。

法国绘画:共和到来 作者:Janet Lange
如果法律是非正义的,它就不能存在。
——奥古斯丁(古罗马) 《论自由意志》