In the immediate aftermath of Justice Scalia passing (previous passage here), several Republicans have come out and stated that they will not vote for any nominee that President Obama nominates. As can be expected, the reaction of those who are not partisan or lightly partisan has been one of shock. Even to the point that many in the media have taken a tone bordering on attacking the interviewee for suggesting such a notion as early on the day of Justice Scalia’s passing.
In order to combat the backlash, Republicans have fashioned a new excuse. Senator Chuck Grassley stated “it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year.” The problem with that statement is that it is not true. To begin with, it is important to note that Senator Grassley is limiting his timeframe. Why? Because in United States history there have been 13 times that a Supreme Court Justice was confirmed during an election year. This is why Senator Grassley was so specific with 80 years. The next issue is that there was at least one appointee that was confirmed during those 80 years. That nominee was Justice Kennedy in 1988. Even worse is the fact that Senator Grassley was a senator at the time and voted for Justice Kennedy. The counter to that is that the President at the time President Ronald Reagan, appointed Robert Bork and he was rejected. This caused President Reagan to appoint Justice Kennedy a more moderate figure. It still doesn’t change the fact that democrats confirmed someone that the President nominated in an election year. This move is purely political and made mostly about the primaries challenges that Senators can face in the next term. Some Republicans have already fallen victim to working with President Obama, so the lesson learned is simple: Republicans cannot be deemed as working with President Obama. Constitutional Duty vs. Reelection, Reelection wins! Since this can change the race as to who controls the Senate in this election cycle, the reelection that is first and foremost is primary reelection.
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