When we join the ranks of the military, every enlistee has to take the same oath, similar to the one all elected officials take:
"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
For many of us, we believe the first part of this oath -- supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States -- extends to even after we take off the uniform.
It's a serious matter, then, when we see the United States Senate refusing to hold hearings or a vote on Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. The Senate can certainly vote down the nomination. But, the Constitution makes very clear which governmental body is responsible for hearing a nomination -- and that's the Senate.
We could maybe -- maybe -- understand the unwillingness to do as the Constitution intended, if Judge Garland was controversial. But he isn't.
One of us, as a U.S. Senator almost twenty years ago, had the privilege of voting to confirm Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit Court, along with 75 other senators, including a number of Republicans.
We did so because he is a man of honor.
Now that President Obama has nominated Judge Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate should give Judge Garland an up or down vote.
As a prosecutor, he led the investigation and prosecution of Timothy McVeigh. He's tutored second, third, and fourth grade students in reading and math for decades. But most importantly, he has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee, ever, and his fidelity to the Constitution has earned him a vote.
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Supreme Court should be above partisan politics. They know that almost eight years ago President Obama was elected by overwhelming margins and entrusted to make Supreme Court nominations, which he did, two times.
Four years ago, they ratified that decision in his re-election against Mitt Romney and entrusted in him the same power should a seat come open in the highest court of the land.
The Constitution -- the very one that we, along with millions of other veterans swore to uphold when we joined the military -- is clear on this issue.
That's why we, as veterans, have to be clear on this issue, as well:
Senators, do your job.