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LETTER: GOP should follow principle on Supreme Court nomination

I consider myself a conservative Republican but I also try to put principles above politics. I find it necessary at times to speak against my own party when I feel it is wrong.

The controversy over naming a new U.S. Supreme Court justice to replace the late, great Antonin Scalia is such an example.

I believe Republican Party leaders who are planning to use a variety of tactics to keep the U.S. Senate from holding confirmation hearings on President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, are simply wrong.

I understand their motives, including wanting to honor Scalia and not have him replaced by a justice who would undo everything Scalia believed and worked for. Further, there is great and legitimate concern that Garland (or any other nominee that Obama puts forward) will tip the court in a liberal activist direction for a generation and threaten many of the fundamental rights we enjoy as Americans.

Nevertheless, I find myself driven by the very principles that Scalia believed in to support Obama's right to nominate a candidate, and equally that the Senate has a duty to hold confirmation hearings in a timely manner according to the demands of the Constitution.

Anything short of this is indefensible. Conservatives must be about upholding the laws of the land, not subverting them when they are not convenient. If the situation were reversed, I would adamantly fight for the Republican president's right to nominate as well. Indeed, we can be sure that eventually the shoe will be on the other foot, and so let us stand now for principle so that we will not be hypocrites when the political situation is reversed.

Though it would probably break his heart, I have little doubt Scalia himself would prefer Republicans follow the Constitution and not try to run the clock out so that the next president can make the decision.

We can point to hypocrisy on the side of Democratic leaders in the past, but this is the point. It is imperative that while Democrats may do the politically expedient, Republicans and conservatives stand squarely for principle.

Steve Lagoon

Cottage Grove