It’s a political mantra I’ve believed in for years.
The President, being duly elected by his/her citizens to serve a four-year term, has the constitutional responsibility to appoint members to the Supreme Court bench.
He/She won the presidency. So, they get the luxury of filling a Supreme Court seat when one becomes available.
The Senate has the responsibility to advise and consent.
I’m not sure it says the Senate must “block” a seat being filled until another (more preferable) person resides in the Oval Office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement after Supreme Court Justice Scalia died over the weekend, saying the vacancy “should” remain until a new President is sworn into office. (He didn’t say “will.)
A few senators are threatening to invoke an antiquated rule called the (Strom) Thurmond Rule. That rule, which isn’t law, asks the Senate to refuse to accept Presidential judicial nominees six months prior to an election.
Well, that would mean we’d have to wait until July 20th for that rule to take place. It doesn’t say ten months!
McConnell was furious when Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer threatened to invoke that rule in against George W. Bush in 2007. McConnell stated:
“Our Democratic colleagues continually talk about the so-called Thurmond Rule, under which the Senate supposedly stops confirming judges in a presidential election year,” said McConnell. “This seeming obsession with this rule that doesn’t exist is just an excuse for our colleagues to run out the clock on qualified nominees who are waiting to fill badly-needed vacancies.”
It appears McConnell also held the belief in 2005 that not allowing a President to appoint members to any judicial branch would amount to a constitutional crisis.
There’s also this news tidbit that my conservative friends have been passing around today, in which Senate Democrats in 1960 passed a “sense of a Senate” resolution against Supreme Court appointments during an election year.
The important part of this “finding” is that the “sense of a Senate” resolution carries no freakin’ authority one bit!
Also, Senate Democrats at the time were reacting to President Eisenhower’s three recess appointments to The Court. President Obama has said he won’t use a recess appointment to fill Scalia’s seat.
Republicans are going to flat-out obstruct Obama’s appointees for the next 11 months of his term, or roughly 25%. It’s a gutsy move, but at this point, I’m not surprised.