The U.S. Supreme Court is back at work one justice short because of the unprecedented roadblock Republican senators have thrown up to considering President Obama’s nomination of the thoroughly uncontroversial Merrick Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia chair.
The president blasted the senators today. Solidly among the obstructionists are Arkansas’s senators, Tom Cotton and John Boozman, the former busy trying to stir up a war somewhere and the latter busy avoiding debates with Democratic opponent Conner Eldridge. Give them a ring about it.
President Barack Obama criticized Senate Republicans for leaving a “politically motivated, willfully negligent vacancy on the Supreme Court” in an editorial published Tuesday….
“The last time a Supreme Court seat was kept vacant through Election Day was in 1864. At the height of the Civil War,” Obama wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. “So, this isn’t about precedent. This is about the obstruction of a broken Republican-led Congress.”
“By hobbling the Supreme Court for what could be a year or longer, Republicans are eroding one of the core institutions of American democracy,” Obama wrote. “This cannot be the new normal.”
Talking Points Memo added:
Obama also noted in the piece other issues on which GOP lawmakers have opposed him, including equal pay, background checks for gun buyers, immigration reform, minimum wage increases and LGBT rights, saying that Republicans “have traded progress for partisanship” through their continued inaction.
Boozman and Cotton have been in the thick of all this. But Cotton has been particularly obstructive, also mounting single-handed blockades to filling vacancies on the federal court of claims and, worse, stopping a juvenile justice reform bill with broad bipartisan support.