by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Whatever reasons people put forth for or against confirming a Supreme Court nominee in 2016, the issue is really about the role of political power. Republicans are in the majority of the Senate. They have every right to do as they wish with a potential justice sent their way.
The Constitution doesn’t mandate they have to confirm whomever the president picks. If they want to delay the action, there’s precedent for that. If they want to reject the confirmation just because they don’t trust Obama’s judgement, they could do that to. Just ask the Democrats who borked Robert Bork in 1987.
It is typical of America politics that instead of giving a nakedly honest answer about this procedure, both sides would prefer to drape themselves in the mantle of legal superiority.
Now the real question is: Who will prevail in the battle for the court?
Almost as soon as news broke of Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated his legislative body would not consider any addition to the highest court during the election year. His statement was echoed by every Republican presidential candidate at Saturday’s debate.
That hasn’t deterred Democrats from digging in and vowing to fight to the bloody end over filling the court vacancy. On Tuesday, Obama mocked Republicans for their precedent arguments and admonished Congress to “rise above” the “venom and rancor in Washington.” …
… Whatever legalistic arguments Republicans are going to make for delaying confirming is likely not going to hold up in the court of public opinion. Pretty much every media outlet is going to side with the White House and wag their finger at whatever resistance they put up.
Republicans should accept the perks that come with the power of controlling the Senate. There is nothing wrong with being partisan about it when the decisions of the likely nominee could fundamentally transform the country. There’s no reason to hold political power if you’re too timid to use it.