Steven O. Ludd, J.D., Ph. D, Professor Emeritus of Political Science Releases New Book to Clarify the Constitution in Current Election Year

Share Article

The endless political obstruction and gridlock in Washington is threatening, not only the Constitution, but now the Supreme Court, as well as the future of this country. The Founding Fathers had expected "factions" but, they didn't expect Congress to grind to a halt.

Confronting the Politics of Gridlock

Confronting the Politics of Gridlock

The power of our vote is absolute.

Steven O. Ludd, J.D., Ph. D, Professor Emeritus of Political Science wrote Confronting the Politics of Gridlock, Revisiting the Founding Visions in Search of Solutions in an effort to educate the public about the issues facing the Founding Fathers as they haggled over the writing of the ultimate United States Constitution, as it was actually written. Not as presented by select groups hijacking bits and pieces taken out of context to suit their use. At this time, looking back to the writing of the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers faced is critical. The Founding Fathers anticipated political “factions,” and hoped they had dealt with that. What they didn’t count on: gridlock blocking Congress from doing their job. As Professor Ludd states:

"Yes, it is an election year. The country is once again beginning to become engaged in the political process. And, it is absolutely accurate to note that there are public policy issues that impact millions of citizens which need to be debated in the public forum. The importance of this presidential election cycle, coupled with the corresponding races for members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, is already energizing large swaths of citizens. One reason for this surge of reengagement with our political process is our collective disdain for the gridlock which has paralyzed our legislative process over the last six years. The “divide and conquer” political strategies which attempt to place Americans into ideological boxes are in full display and are often wrapped in the cloak of the Constitution. We have observed this tactic before: Wave a copy of the document, shout the patriotic word ‘liberty’, recite one section of the Constitution or Bill of Rights, without placing it within the context of the other sections or other co-equal amendments, and then with the assistance of oligarchical funded “institutes” or “foundations” market a revisionist theory of our collective covenant. This shredding of the document for crass political gain is once again being used as a strategy to block the nomination process to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.

"The Constitution mandates the President of the United States to nominate and the Senate to confirm a nominee for appointment to the highest court in the land. Article II, section 2, clause (2) states that the President, “...shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the Supreme Court…” It is the Senate’s responsibility to review the credentials of any nominee and in so doing provide “advice” to the President regarding his or her qualifications ultimately culminating in a vote by the Senate for approval. With the highly charged rhetoric which has accompanied the gridlock of the last six years, it would be naïve to conclude that any nominee will be confirmed by the Senate without a modicum of political “grandstanding” by some members of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee which is assigned the task of reviewing the nominee’s qualifications. The mass media also will have but one more opportunity to provide viewers/listeners/readers with whatever “pound of flesh” is offered up by individual members of Congress regarding the nominee’s qualifications. And, we can be assured that media “political contributors” will “spin” the nominee’s background to fit whatever ideological box they hold dear.

"While this process often takes up to two to three months, and can eventuate in longer time frames, there is reason to believe that this process will be hijacked by obstructionists in an effort to “allow the next President of the United States” to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement. The irony is that those who would join in such an effort are often heard ranting about the importance of following the “original” language of the Constitution in Supreme Court decision making are now more than comfortable “interpreting” the Article II language to prevent any Obama nominee from receiving confirmation.

"This is a time for political leadership. It is an opportunity for members of the Senate to demonstrate their commitment to what James Madison described as their obligation to “faithfully discharge” the “public trust”. That responsibility includes a full vetting of any nominee selected by the President of the United States, but it also requires recognition that without an expeditious process culminating in approval of a nominee, the Supreme Court and the country will be held hostage by those who profit from gridlock. With numerous seats in the Senate and in the House of Representatives open for election it may behoove those who would join in obstructionism to remember Madison’s warning regarding the abuse of power by those who hold the “public trust”. He wrote that they would be, " …compelled to anticipate the moment when their power is to cease, when their exercise of it is to be reviewed, and when they must descend to the level from which they were raised – there forever to remain unless a faithful discharge of their trust shall have established their title to a renewal of it". --- The Federalist Papers, no. 53, 113

"The power of our vote is absolute."

Steven O. Ludd, J.D., Ph. D
Professor Emeritus
Public Law
Author – Confronting the Politics of Gridlock, Revisiting the Founding Visions in Search of Solutions

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Katherine Werner
Visit website