On March 16, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Scalia’s death has left the court in an ideological deadlock, with four justices who lean left on the political spectrum and four who lean right. Senate Republicans have already made it clear that they would not confirm a new justice until a new president is elected in November, but that did not stop the president from nominating a relatively moderate yet still liberal judge to the highest court in the land.

There is now a heated struggle between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate over having a hearing and a vote for Garland, and frankly, it shouldn’t be that way. In fact, no Supreme Court nomination should be a political process or issue. Congress is currently about as partisan as it ever has been, but the Supreme Court itself is not supposed to be so politically motivated. Whereas the legislative and executive branches of the government aim to create and execute laws, respectively, the Supreme Court is supposed to interpret those laws. Though this should not be a partisan process, politics has started playing more of a role in the court, with ideology often triumphing or influencing its interpretation of laws.

The independent and insulated Supreme Court that the framers intended is the ideal court, and here’s why.

According to the Stanford Law Review, the framers wanted the Supreme Court to be the intermediary between the people and the legislature to ensure that Congress obeyed the Constitution. Congress could not be trusted to comply with the Constitution’s limited framework, and courts would be “the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments.” Although the framers certainly couldn’t imagine the types of political issues the government faces these days, they certainly understood that politicization would play a role in lawmaking. Therefore, there would need to be a separate body to check the lawmaking body. And with Washington as politicized as it is today, this power to check the powers of Congress and protect the Constitution is as important as ever.

When the court cannot make decisions independently of political influence, it cannot effectively and fully protect the Constitution; thus, it cannot do its job. Congress is not faced with many issues regarding Constitutional freedoms, so a strong independent court is necessary to protect these freedoms from politicians.

In an ideal world, the Supreme Court nomination process currently unfolding would not be so heavily driven by politics. Every justice who has sat on the court has been someone of high legal mind and stature, and that should always be the case. But instead of looking at the constitutionality or the legal history of a judge being nominated to the court, the public — and Congress — now looks at how liberal or conservative the judge’s past has been.

While I have no doubt that whoever eventually ends up on the bench will be a well-regarded legal expert, I want someone who is a defender of the Constitution and who interprets the law free of political pressures. Though it is clear that this will not be the basis for how Congress and possibly the next president selects the next justice, they should both try to look at the justice free of political bias.

Kyle Campbell is a sophomore government and politics major. He can be reached at kcampbelldbk@gmail.com.