“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
“Would be unprecedented in recent history for SCOTUS to go year with vacancy. And shameful abdication of our constitutional responsibility,” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Twitter.
I predicted this would happen because the Repugnant-cons are entirely predictable in holding SCOTUS hostage, in effect, shutting it down for at least the next year and a half to play partisan politics, gambling that one of the Republican clowns inside the candidate car will find his way into the White House. If Bernie Sanders is elected president and McConnell loses his gamble, would he then try to go for double or nothing by extending the SCOTUS shutdown through 2018 hoping to add even more Republicans to Congress? Let would be his legacy going into 2020 when he will be up for reelection to the Senate.
Now, it is possible that the eight remaining justices will still hear cases already on the Court schedule. Some of the cases might be relatively easy for them to arrive at an unanimous decision, or at least 5-3. But an Affordable Care Act case where the ideological lines are drawn 4-4 with no swing votes to tip the decision one way or the other, well, what happens then? Kick it back down to a lower court for it to be kicked back up some time in the near or distant future when the Court is once again at full strength? How many other unheard cases would be sitting smack dab atop the Ideological Divide? This isn’t the Senate. You can’t bring in Joe Biden to cast the tie-breaking vote. This is what I mean by the Republicans shutting down SCOTUS because when it comes to those big, high profile cases concerning gun control or state anti-abortion laws and such, the justices will be able to decide nothing.
Mitch McConnell is claiming that a lame duck president doesn’t speak for the American people, therefore, Obama has no right to name a replacement for the not-so-dearly departed Antonin Scalia. What doesn’t McConnell understand about the Constitution? The one thing Scalia sometimes got right is that you don’t screw with certain sections of it. The president is elected to a four-year term, period. His power and authority are not diminished in his final year. Although Obama’s overall approval rating isn’t great, he still has enough support from these same American people–who voted him into office–to choose a replacement justice that the Senate Republicans should confirm.
But, that’s fine. This is an election year. Let the Republicans play their latest shutdown game again. President Obama and the Democrats should and hopefully will start a major media campaign urging the American people AKA voters to make it loud and clear that the Republicans don’t speak for THEM. That they already spoke for themselves when they reelected Obama president in 2012.