Talking Points Memo reports that key GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee announced that they are united in a pledge to refuse to consider any nominee from President Barack Obama to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
This, of course, is their constitutional prerogative, although it stretches the meaning of “advise and consent” to pure obstructionism.
Obama will nevertheless fulfill his constitutional duty to nominate someone. Senate Republicans will then ignore the nominee, regardless of qualifications, leaving the seat vacant for a year. Some wonder whether, if a Democrat is elected president but the GOP retains the Senate, the Republicans might simply continue the gambit indefinitely. It would be an embarrassing maneuver after claiming that they “believe the American people need to decide,” but no worries: The Republican caucus has immense reserves of shamelessness.
Some Republicans in tough races in blue/purple states have expressed concerns that the obstructionist shenanigans will hurt them. We’ll see. No such concerns from Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. John Boozman in dead red Arkansas. Both have already committed to block any nominee.
The refusal to hold hearings seems like a less savvy political move than holding hearings and then rejecting the nominee, but sounds like the base views even hearings as surrender.