The U.S. Senate should not act to fill the sudden Supreme Court vacancy opened up by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia until after President Obama departs office, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Saturday.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” McConnell said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, as well as current Republican presidential candidates and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, also came out of the gate opposing confirmation of a final Obama Supreme Court nominee.
The Republican majority in the Senate gives the party leverage for a battle with Obama over a new Supreme Court nomination, but would not be without risks. Any nominee would need 60 affirmative votes on cloture to proceed to final confirmation, meaning that Obama would be under pressure to choose a more moderate versus liberal justice in order to win the at least 14 Republicans he would need to support his nominee.
That pressure would vanish if Republicans cannot retake the White House in 2016 or hold their majority in the Senate. Many Republicans in D.C. are skeptical that the party will be able to do either, especially if Donald J. Trump or Ted Cruz win the GOP presidential nomination. These establishment Republicans have seen evidence that Trump or Cruz would create a drag on races lower down the ballot, such as the Senate races in November, and are worried Republicans could lose the Senate.
Republicans currently hold the Senate majority with 54 members, but 24 of those seats are being contested this year — including seven in states where Obama won twice.
If Republicans wait and Democrats win the White House and regain the Senate majority, a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton, for example, would have greater leeway to select a more liberal justice than Obama might have submitted.
But the politics could also work in Republicans’ favor, as mobilization for a Supreme Court nomination by a Republican president could cause conservative voter turnout to spike in 2016, helping candidates across the board. Democrats, of course, would similarly seek to boost turnout and support based on the nomination fight (or lack thereof).
There is precedent for the Senate to act in a presidential year on a confirmation. Justice Anthony Kennedy was chosen by Republican President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by a a Democratic Senate on February 3, 1988 — also the last year of a lame-duck presidency.
“Theoretically, that process could conclude before the November election. But realistically, it cannot absent essentially a consensus nominee — and probably not even then, given the stakes,” he wrote. “A Democratic president would replace a leading conservative vote on a closely divided court. The Republican Senate will not permit such a consequential nomination — which would radically shift the balance of ideological power on the court — to go forward.”i had forgotten how partisan and irresponsible republicans and their voters are for a minute watching the candidates last night's debacle admit their intention to again hold the gov't hostage unless they get their way to a raucous applauding. 20-08 before Pres. took office they declared war on him and refused to help clean up their mess and see him not be re-elected failing miserably at both.
this time it could be different i don't have a lot of faith that republican base would push their reps to do the fair thing being they are just as reprehensible and are willing to hurt the majority just to maintain power that coupled with their downward spiral happening now gives them a fierce sense of urgency to try to keep the radically biased high court in their favor supposedly to keep their hate agenda afloat and the status quo. that's should also be the paramount incentive for us to get out and vote because our future really is in danger and not just for 4 or 8 years we're talking decades more of right wing injustice.
Scalia, was the embodiment of right wing republican myths on a racial level how is that balanced or fair??? republicans are ignoring the majority of the electorate who won't vote for them and obstructing our right to a fair approval or denial of an selection and not because they won't continue their practice of screwing the American citizens who want a more compassionate court not a biased one leaning in one direction.