After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Republicans in the Senate don’t want to confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Barack Obama, regardless of qualifications. That’s because they don’t want the Court to move to the left.
There’s this charade where Republicans have to pretend like there’s some kind of precedent or principle at stake. They claim that it would be wrong for a lamed duck president to fulfill his constitutional duty. They claim to want the voters to decide, never mind that Barack Obama will continue to be president of the United States for nearly a year precisely because the voters decided. It’s all very tedious. In fact, of course, this is a pure power play. Republican senators want to use their constitutional prerogative as aggressively as they can to control the makeup of the Court.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Ronald Reagan appointee, said this week that Republicans are just being obstructionist. The Hill reports:
“I don’t agree,” she said in an interview with Fox 10 Phoenix of Republicans who want to delay the appointment. “I think we need somebody there now to do the job, and let’s get on with it.”
O’Connor, who was appointed to the bench in 1981 by former President Ronald Reagan, said she wishes “the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line.”
“Well, you just have to pick the best person you can under the circumstances under the appointing authority,” she added. “You must do — and it’s an important position and one that we should care about as a nation and as a people.”
Don’t tell Arkansas senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, who have pledged total obstruction.
Good article from the New Republic’s Brian Beutler gaming out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s motivation for the obstruction approach. The politics might not be great for senators in blue/purple states, but it will help McConnell keep his leadership position by kowtowing to the right-wing base.