In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, President Obama was quick to promise that he would swiftly nominate a replacement to the court. However, conservatives have balked at this idea saying that with less than a year to go before the inauguration of a new President — and with all of the hoopla surrounding a national election year – this decision should not be made in haste. Moreover, several prominent Republicans, chief among them Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have promised to stand against any Obama attempt at filling the seat.
On Sunday he told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that he would “absolutely” be filibustering any Obama appointment to the court.
“George, the Senate has not confirmed a nominee that was named in the final year, an election year, in 80 years. This is a lame duck president. And, by the way, the only reason Anthony Kennedy was nominated that late is that Democrats in the Senate had gone after and defeated two previous nominees, Robert Bork, which set a new standard for partisan attacks on a nominee, and Doug Ginsburg. So it was the Democrats that had dragged it out for many months to make it that late. And right now, the court is exquisitely balanced.”
When Stephanopolous asked, “Does that mean that you’re going to filibuster anyone that President Obama nominates?” Cruz was quick to respond, “Absolutely. This should be a decision for the people, George. We’ve got an election. And, you know, Democrats — I cannot wait to stand on that stage with Hillary Clinton or with “Bernie” Bernard Sanders and take the case to the people, what vision of the Supreme Court do you want? Let the election decide it. If the Democrats want to replace this nominee, they need to win the election.”
It’s a strong argument and one that Cruz repeated later on NBC with Chuck Todd.
(At about 4:30 into the video.)
“The Senate’s duty is to advise and consent. You know what? The Senate is advising right now, we are advising that a lame-duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the Supreme Court. That we’re going to have an election, and if liberals are so confident that the American people want unlimited abortion on demand, want religious liberty torn down, want the Second Amendment taken away, want veterans memorials torn down, want the crosses and stars of David sandblasted off of the tombstones of our fallen veterans, then go and make the case to the people.”
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that President Obama will not be replacing Justice Scalia — that responsibility will fall to the next President. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president, “ McConnell said. And Senator “Chuck” Charles Grassley (R-IA) echoed Ted Cruz’s words on Senate tradition, “The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year. Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court justice.”
Hopefully, the GOP will prove to be a stronger foe for this President on this issue than on others in recent history. We’ve not won many of these battles over the last decade, but this one is of utmost importance, as another liberal on the Court could make our Constitutional Republic completely unrecognizable.
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