Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who is challenging U.S. Sen. John Boozman, said in a statement yesterday that the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia should be filled.
Many Republican senators have announced a plan of all-out obstructionism to block any nominee, regardless of qualifications, to the Supreme Court from President Barack Obama, potentially leaving the seat vacant for a year. We’ve noted a few times that this could end up being a political disaster in blue/purple states with tight senate races.
Of course, it’s hard to believe this will be an issue in dead-red Arkansas. Boozman, as well as Sen. Tom Cotton, have pledged to block any nominee from Obama. Eldridge calls that “another example of what’s wrong with Washington.” But no one ever lost an election in Arkansas for being too anti-Obama.
Eldridge said in a statement that “the President and the Senate should fulfill their constitutional obligations and work promptly to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with a judge who puts the Constitution over politics and is both fair and impartial.”
“Not filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court because of partisan politics is just another example of what’s wrong with Washington,” Eldridge continued in his statement. “Leaders in both parties should work together, put country over party, and do their job. End of story.”
Boozman’s own statement repeats the risible ruse that this is somehow about precedent, as opposed to senators using their constitutional prerogative as a power grab:
After carefully considering the constituent feedback I have received it is clear that Arkansans overwhelmingly want a say in choosing Justice Scalia’s replacement through the presidential election. Arkansans want the Senate to wait until the next President is sworn in and I intend to adhere to their wishes. The fact of the matter is that it has been eighty years since a candidate nominated in an election year has been confirmed. Now is not the proper time to break this precedent.
And here is Cotton’s statement:
The choice of Justice Scalia’s successor should not belong to a lame-duck president, whose mandate is stale, and whose disregard for the constitutional constraints on his office are well known. The choice should belong to the American people. Voters deserve the chance to factor in the future of the Court as they cast their ballots in November. They deserve a say on a lifetime appointment that may change the balance of the Court and dramatically alter the direction of the nation.
Of course the American people elected Barack Obama by significant margins, twice, and Obama is still the president of the United States. The deal is just that Cotton really hates Obama and doesn’t want him to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. So here we are.