"'Sen. Frist has thrown down the gauntlet at a time when the country least needs it,' said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee. 'The American people know that checks and balances are an integral part of our government.'"
Interesting. I suppose Senator Schumer is referring to his role as Senator in checking and balancing the power of the President to put a person on the Supreme Court. And, of course, such a "check and balance" is of value. But, in reading Senator Schumer's comment, I was reminded of something he said during the process of Senate consenting to Justice Roberts. Senator Schumer was concerned that Justice Roberts seemed to think the Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce was a limited power, whereas Senator Schumer seemed to think the power to regulate interstate commerce meant that he and has colleagues in Congress could regulate any aspect of economic activity. This suggests to me that the power of the President isn't the only relevant issue regarding "checks and balances" in question with respect to new members of the Supreme Court. Specifically, Senators will be voting to consent or not to the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice who will later make decisions about the Constitution that will either serve to check the power of Congress (and Senator Schumer) or that will not check the power of Congress.