The Advice and Consent of the Senate - Conversation Starter 3 - Advice and Consent in a Democracy

Originally appearing in The Hartford Courant. Used with permission of Bob Englehart.

Focus Questions:

1. What does this cartoon suggest about public engagement with the judicial nomination process?

2. After the Seventeenth Amendment was passed and ratified by the states (1913), U.S. Senators were directly elected to Congress. How do you think direct election affected the Senate's advice and consent role in judicial nominations?

3. Why do you think the Framers initially chose to protect the judicial selection process from the type of "direct democracy" represented by "American Idol"?

4. Do you think that the use of a device such as the filibuster, which allows minority voices in the Senate to block confirmation of judicial nominees, is consistent with the Framers intent to protect judicial selection from "direct democracy"? Why?