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Vetting Supreme Court nominees -- not the nominator -- is the Senate's job

Vetting Supreme Court nominees -- not the nominator -- is the Senate's job
President Obama announces Merrick Garland as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White Houseon March 16. (Michael Reynolds / EPA)

To the editor: While the mechanics may be ambiguous — as your Op-Ed states, “Both sides are acting as if advice and consent is a rule, but instead it is a standard” — its purpose is clearly to vet the nominees. (“Is stonewalling legit?” Opinion, March 30)

Republicans' nominee-blind process instead vets presidents. That vetting, under the Constitution, rests with voters; their choice is not subject to the Senate's “advice and consent.”

The Senate may, through action or inaction, reject a particular nominee. But it may not reject the nominator.

No matter what reason Senate Republicans give — the approaching end of the president's term, the hypocrisy of some Democrats, the court's fragile balance — vetting the nominator is simply not the Senate's job.

Ilya Shlyakhter, Cambridge, Mass.

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