The American public has allowed one of our two major political parties to gloss over a blatant violation of the Constitution. I refer to the events that unfolded after the sudden passing in February 2016 of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a situation in which then-President Barack Obama should have been allowed to nominate Scalia’s replacement with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Obama had about a year left in his second term. The Republican-controlled Senate blocked Obama’s choice, in clear violation of the process laid out in the U.S. Constitution. This awful episode has slipped into a hazy past.

Why is this matter still important? Most things that have happened since are matters of good taste or petty attempts by one president to undo vestiges of his predecessor. These are items for debate or reasons to patiently await the next election.

But we only have two dominant political parties in our country. Both have always paid service to the concepts of honor, honesty and faithfulness to our founding documents. There are turning points like this episode in the lives of people and nations. While we can survive a president with some bad traits, our democratic system may be unable to survive a Republican Party unmoored from its principles.

Joseph Hachey