President Obama has made his decision as to who he wants to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The choice has not been made public as of yet though I suspect it will be leaked prior to the President’s announcement. This is a big moment because some were speculating the President might make a “consensus” choice – one the GOP majority in the Senate might be able to support.
“In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job,” Obama said. “I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders.”
This has been a constant talking point among Democrats. The GOP has said they will not consider Obama’s Supreme Court pick this year and Democrats have predictably whined and blubbered that Republicans in the Senate are “not doing their job.” But is the Senate required to consider Obama’s nominee?
Seldom if ever, have we faced the current situation of a president filling a sudden vacancy on the court in an election year when the Senate is controlled by the GOP, the opposition party, particularly when the vacancy occurred with nearly a year left in the presidential term.
It is glaringly obvious that politics has always played a role, and the Senate has set the rules to act as it wants. In the past, during periods of divided government and looming elections, the Senate has chosen to stall the process or not to act. While that’s not unconstitutional, in the current situation, it earns them the label of obstructionists.
McConnell should never have made the statement that they wouldn’t even consider O’s nomination. There was no reason to advertise their stance. Instead, he should have remained silent and simply reject the judge he chooses.