It didn’t get much coverage because Donald Trump was hogging the crazy lane but US Sen. John McCain has some pretty cracked ideas about “advise and consent” of nominees for the United State Supreme Court. McCain went off the reservation in a radio appearance when he said Republicans would block all Supreme Court nominees put forth by a President Hillary Clinton should she win.
“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said. The statement is pretty outrageous—declaring opposition to nominees before even knowing who the nominees are!
Perhaps McCain was trying to stress the need to keep Republican control of the US Senate. But what the reason, McCain’s declared obstructionism is troubling. The Constitution is clear on the Senate’s role in the process:
[The Pesident] shall have the power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he 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: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
It seems unlikely McCain would actually spend four years cobbling together enough GOP senators to block every SCOTUS nominee a President Clinton would put forth. Eventually, reasonable minds would prevail and a Clinton nominee would indeed be confirmed.
In the bigger picture, elections have consequences. If the American people choose Clinton over Donald Trump (a very likely scenario now), Clinton should be able to choose a Supreme Court justice of her liking.
It’s unclear how many of the newly elected Republican senators would go along with such a blanket statement of obstructionism. However, it is at least possible to do.