The comments of Republican leaders and presidential candidates following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia—suggesting that the Senate should ignore its constitutional obligation and refuse to act on President Obama’s nominee to fill this vacancy—are outrageous.
Sadly, this obstructionism is not new for Republican senators, who have stalled and blocked President Obama’s judicial nominees—and many nominees to federal agencies as well—at alarming and destructive levels. Extending this obstructionism to a Supreme Court nominee would be contrary to historical precedent. This precedent includes the confirmation of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in his final year in office and confirmed by a Democratic Senate 65 days after his nomination.
Refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Scalia vacancy would be a blatant dereliction of duty undertaken simply to hold a seat on the Supreme Court open in hopes of a Republican winning the presidency in November.
This is politics at its worst—the kind that makes Americans cynical about their government and their leaders. The Senate should do its job and provide advice and consent on President Obama’s nominee. Working people deserve and expect no less.