“The President…shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law….”
-United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2
Ironically, based upon what he said and wrote during his time as a Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia would likely be appalled by what Republicans in the US Senate are doing to the Constitution. Scalia believed the Constitution should mean exactly what it says. His advancement of the ideas of “originalism” and plain meaning of the text of the document have been blown up by Senate Republicans.
Note that the text does not say, “except in an election year,” “unless it would tilt the ideological bent of the Court,” or “unless it results in a nominee not of the Senate majority’s liking.”
It is not ambiguous, it’s not unclear, it’s not imprecise.
Sure, there are some pretty ridiculous things happening in this election cycle. The likely Republican presidential nominee in a racist, sexist, disparager of the disabled and war heroes while sporting a Flock of Seagulls hair-do and a spray tan that has enabled him to pass John Boehner on the skin pigmentation chart.
Yes, a socialist joined the Democratic Party and tried to start a revolution (that failed). Ok, a guy born in Canada is still in the race. And a Bush never got into double digits in the polls.
But nothing tops the majority in the United States Senate refusing to even hold a hearing on a nominee to the Supreme Court. It’s legislative malpractice and an abdication of its official function.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley are unabashedly claiming “the American people have a particular opportunity now to make their voice heard in the selection of Scalia’s successor as they participate in the process to select their next president.”
I’m no constitutional scholar but didn’t the voters have a say? They spoke loud and clear in (twice) choosing Barack Obama to be president. The president’s term runs four years. Not three, not five. So “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” applies NOW.
Meanwhile, McConnell and company pledged to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…to bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
McConnell is making a mockery of the United States Constitution. Voters should remember this travesty. Are you listening, Kelly Ayotte? Ron Johnson? Rob Portman? If I had my way, you’d all be shown the door.
So help me God.