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Questions for Judge Merrick Garland

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By  Carroll Robinson and Michael O. Adams
April 12, 2016

question-mark-1020165_640Now that President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, here are several questions that the nominee should answer.

  • Where does the nominee stand on protecting the voting rights of people of color, the Voting Rights Act and voter ID laws? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on the issue of extreme partisan political gerrymandering? Is there any constitutional limitation on partisan political gerrymandering by state legislatures? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on the constitutionality of Civil Rights legislation? 
  • In this era of technology (the Internet, cloud computing and big data) and terrorism, where does the nominee stand on the balance between the constitutional right to privacy and national security? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on equitable application of criminal justice laws? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on the scope and reach of the Commerce Clause? Is there any limitation on Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause or its taxing authority?  
  • How will the nominee interpret the Constitution? Original intent or as a “living document” like Thurgood Marshall? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on the balance between religious freedom and the Supreme Court’s equal protection case law? 
  • Is the core premise of Brown v. Board of Education still good law? Do young people of color still have a federal constitutional right to a properly funded, quality, public school education? 
  • Where does the nominee stand on consumer protection and workers’ right issues? 
  • What does equal justice under the law mean to the nominee? 

What other questions need answers? Let us know.


Authors: Robinson and Adams are members of the faculty of the political science department at Texas Southern University in Houston.

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