The immediate and panicked Republican response to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death may be fatal to their keeping control of the Senate and their hopes to win the Presidency.
Never before in the history of the United States has the Majority Leader of The Senate announced that the Senate would simply refuse to follow the Constitution and cause damage to the judicial branch of our democracy because it was better for their party to do so.
But that is exactly what Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would do, just moments after the news of Scalia’s death was announced. Republicans will trample over the deaths of their own icons before their bodies are even cold just to gain political advantage. As they say about criminals, there seems to be no honor among Republicans anymore (as anyone watching GOP debates can attest).
Party over country. Power over responsibility. Control over obeying The Constitution.
Since regaining control in The House, Republicans shut down our government in a failed plot of political extortion, to force passage on what a majority of Americans opposed. They threatened repeatedly and came to the brink of refusing to raise the debt ceiling (which isn’t increasing spending but agreeing to pay the bills and debts already incurred) to extort the nation into bowing to their unpopular views. Now, despite Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution being very specific as to the duties of The Senate to advise and consent when the President follows his duties to appoint a Supreme Court justice, McConnell and Republicans now claim that they have the option to ignore their Constitutional duties if it’s to their political benefit.
In the end though, their actions will likely turn out to deliver just the opposite.
The very lame and primary propaganda these Republicans are using to try and hide their crass partisanship behind is, “Let the people have a voice in the pick for the Supreme Court through the upcoming Presidential election!” As can be seen all around the internet, this dishonesty isn’t gaining any traction, a frequent response by citizens is that the people already decided in 2012 that they wanted President Obama to be the one filling any SCOTUS vacancies during his Presidency.
And in light of all the frothing of Republicans about the need to replace Scalia with as identical a juror as possible, why would McConnell and his cronies suddenly respect the will of the people in an election when it doesn’t go their way? Does anyone really expect McConnell and Company to concede to a President Bernie Sanders or President Hillary Clinton, “Well, the people decided they wanted you picking the next Supreme Court justice, we’ll go ahead and confirm whichever qualified candidate you propose!”?
Their hypocrisy would be amusing if it wasn’t so destructive to our democratic system. While condemning how politically slanted it would be for Obama to nominate who he would want to fill the position, all of the Republican candidates for President as well as McConnell and his GOP colleagues, insist that only a justice who was as politically slanted to the right as Scalia would be acceptable.
And BTW, the propaganda that Obama is a lame duck President who shouldn’t fill the position is just flat out dishonest. “Lame Duck” applies to Presidents in the brief period after the November election when the next President has been elected but the current President remains in office until January. Also, as some pundits have pointed out to Republicans, Obama has virtually an entire year left, his 4th year of his presidency and as asked, when did Presidents only get a 3 year term?
I don’t know that anyone would be surprised by this anti-Constitutional stance by Republicans. In the era of the corrupt democracy we’re living in, when the wealthy control so much of what happens, when voter suppression is so widespread, when we have an illegitimate minority of the country in power as a majority of The House due to gerrymandering and when one of our two parties has deteriorated into thriving on the lowest traits of human beings (fear, hatred, racism and bigotry, misogyny…basically, Donald Trumpism), seeing the Republicans happily refuse to follow the Constitution because their party doesn’t control the White House is far from unexpected. Nor is their pathetic and childish excuse that, “Obama doesn’t follow The Constitution according to us so we don’t have to either! Nyah-nyah!”
But intentionally sabotaging our system and structure of democracy does come with a price.
This year, Republicans have 25 seats up for election in The Senate, the Democrats only have 10. These are the seats that were won in the Republican landslide of 2010 so a number of the Republican seats are in blue or purple states. The Democrats only need to win a net increase of 4 seats (with a Democrat winning the White House) to take control of The Senate back.
And this latest and severe dereliction of duty by Senate Republicans, abusing their position of power in The Senate, gives Democrats a powerful weapon to win those and possibly more seats back from them.
Republicans are displaying that they are unworthy of controlling the Senate, they do not feel bound by duty or the Constitution in the way they conduct themselves…they have no argument to make for being put back in control of it except to continue putting the consolidation of power for their party first and abusing their position of power to undermine The Senate, The Constitution and the SCOTUS if it is to their party’s benefit.
Being realistic, even if the Republicans in the Senate weren’t taking such an anti-Constitutional, destructive position at the outset of refusing to even consider any SCOTUS nominees submitted by Pres. Obama, they wouldn’t have supported any of his nominees in a way that would have overcome filibusters. So no nominees would have gotten through this year even if the Dems controlled the Senate (unless they used the nuclear option to prevent filibusters of SCOTUS picks…which would be unlikely because they would be concerned about not having that power when they were in the minority).
It would be hard to imagine Democrats running for the Senate not running on the necessity of removing the Republicans from their seats because they are self-evidently unfit to govern. A nationally-minded campaign would seem to be most effective, elect the Democrats for Senate in your state so that The Republicans are no longer in control and continue to damage our democratic institutions. Tangential to that would be the argument that voting for the Democrat for Senate would mean voting for a moderate or liberal justice to fill the Scalia vacancy which means ending Citizens United, restoring the Civil Rights Act, supporting sensible gun control, protecting a woman’s right to choose, joining with the rest of the world to combat Climate Change and pollution, etc. Campaigning on such potent change could be a meaningful boost for Democrats running for The Senate.
The upsides of this situation are all on the Democrats side. Obama will no doubt nominate someone who is eminently qualified to be a SCOTUS judge and whether the Repubs continue to refuse to follow the Constitution or hold votes but filibuster or vote down that person, they affirm they won’t fulfill their responsibilities to the nation and are therefore unfit to have power in The Senate.
The majority of Americans support the positions that a moderate or liberally minded SCOTUS would hold and would swing the SCOTUS to rule favorably on. Describing how the country could be changed swiftly for the better with a Dem President, Senate and majority of moderates/liberals on the SCOTUS would be a real but not disruptive revolution of the type that the nation really seems to desire at this point in time.
Compare that with what the Republican argument would be if the Senate campaigns are nationalized.
“Vote Republican because we will prevent the Supreme Court from functioning properly for as many years as it takes if Democrats win the Presidency!”
“Vote Republican because we won’t work for the country or follow our Constitution responsibilities if it doesn’t benefit our party!”
“Vote Republican because we are fine with crippling every branch of government, our entire system of democracy, until we can get back into power!”
Though the destruction of a functioning government may appeal to the Repub base (and isn’t that a pitiful thing to know as being true for one of our two major political parties?), it is not a winning argument to make to the majority of voters in this nation…they wouldn’t be voting in the first place if they didn’t have an expectation of having a functional democracy.
In a totally unscientific review of the public reactions across the internet so far to Republicans refusing to follow their Constitutional duties in The Senate on SCOTUS confirmations, it sure seems that a wide majority is unhappy with them and views their obviously partisan actions as flat out wrong.
The irony is that in the end, Antonin Scalia may be responsible for a Democratic victory in the Senate, the Presidency and insuring a more liberal Supreme Court for decades to come.
Now remember folks, these excuses are only ‘good’ until a republican wins back the White House, then they no longer apply! As far as winning back the Senate, should be a no brainer but betting on the intelligence of the average American voter some times is a losing proposition. Hopefully this time enough will turnout to actually do it.
Heard this AM on c-span that the ‘right propaganda machine is spreading rumors that Canada is going to resettle 25 million!! And as usual the fools believe it!!
I guess the GOP thinks, because Obama is black, he only get’s to serve 3/5ths of his presidency.:(
Right, KT! And, of course, they’ll only allow Hillary to serve 66.6% of her term, being a woman and all. Oh, they’ll want to reduce her Salary as well!
That would not surprise me, in the least.
So how long does it take to vote on a SCOTUS candidate?
That’s a great graphic, James. The longest wait being for Brandeis due to bigotry since he was the first Jewish SCOTUS judge.
No coincidence the party of bigotry wants to at a minimum triple that longest period of approval against the first African American President. And claim that “the people” didn’t decide they wanted him acting as President to appoint SCOTUS judges when he was re-elected, the people only speak when someone who isn’t Obama is elected at the end of this year (and a Republican).
Of course, according to the bigoted GOP, Pres. Obama is only entitled to 3 years of his 4 year term and should just give up his 4th year of fulfilling his duties as President.
Ain’t gonna happen!
Good to see you here again. Thanks for that wonderful graphic. I guess according to that we should have a new supreme court justice within at least 6 months due to the fact that the republicans are so diabolically opposed to anything that President Obama does while he is in office, including his duty. What a bunch of ?!X%$#@’s.
Exactly, Monica, and good to see you, my friend. There is no reason for the Senate not to act. I have a feeling that Obama will nominate Sri Srinivasan. He has already gone through the process and got approved unanimously.
Gonna be fun to watch
Yes it will be fun to watch. Regarding Sri Srinivasan, have you seen this:
The prospect of President Barack Obama tapping Sri Srinivasan for the Supreme Court is spawning a sharp debate among at least one part of the Democrats’ liberal grass roots — environmentalists turned off by his high-profile defense of giant fossil fuel companies.
Monica, that link is damning as far as I’m concerned.Having any interest in the fossil fuel industry should disqualify him in my opinion. There are others who are just as qualified and don’t have any links to BIG oil.
My sentiments exactly Nirek. It is about time we the people started taking global warming seriously, it is a crisis we face today that could IMHO decide if we continue on this planet or not.
Did not know that, Monica. Thank you for adding that perspective.
You nailed it, my friend. The GOP has, once again, overplayed its hand.
Look for President Obama to nominate Sri Srinivasan, US Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court — an Obama nominee who was confirmed by a 97-0 vote.
Let’s see the GOP squirm out of this one.
Read more at: http://www.oneindia.com/international/3-indian-americans-could-be-us-supreme-court-judge-nominees-2014258.html
Srinivasan sure does seem like a great candidate though considering that this will likely be a nom that’s held up and the nominee will need to wait it out, maybe Loretta Lynch? She can continue as AG throughout it, is eminently qualified and the image of the virtually all white Repub Senate refusing to seat a strongly qualified African American woman who they previously approved to be AG could be very damaging to the Repub Senate and help Dems retake The Senate.
Many other great candidates too, I have no doubt that whoever it is, Obama will nominate a great and unassailable nominee.
Anybody the president nominates will be assailed by the GOPers. That’s all they seem to know how to do these days.
Fabulous Article, Ad. One of your best for sure. Looking at it from 10,000 miles away, I just cannot believe that any American would put up with, or even condone such a flouting of the Constitution. I think that there is no place for,to use an Irish colloquialism, that kind of bolloxology in the once August Senate. A shameful time in the USA.
Thanks so much, PPO!
I suppose that the Repubs need to hit rock bottom, especially in an election year, and get destroyed at the polls to finally learn that certain lines shouldn’t be crossed. As it is now, they are like spoiled children who have their wealthy parents’ credit cards and car keys and are confident they are protected from getting into trouble no matter what they do.
Time for a major spanking this Nov!
If Republicans block Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, he wins anyway
Excellent article Kalima! I saw Hirshman on Democracy Now this morning:
It gives hope that the repubs are doomed if they are stupid enough to obstruct the president on this.
I thought that the turtle was involved in a cocaine scandal, why is he the majority leader instead of being disgraced, removed from the Senate, and in jail?
Thanks for the link. A very interesting and well informed conversation. A breath of fresh air.
Great article Kalima and as it percolates into the Repubs tiny minds, they may indeed realize that approving Obama’s SCOTUS nominee is in their best interest.
Meanwhile, I hope Obama and Dems around the country are going to move full steam ahead in getting cases in front of the Circuit Courts on all the critical issues!
They haven’t yet learned to look both ways before they cross the street. I don’t think they ever will.
There are many nasty lying politicians in this world, but I have never seen any that quite reach the toxic level of the U.S. Repubs. RIP GOP!
Ad, I have to admit that that GOPers got me again. Just when I was thinking they couldn’t get any more childish and bratty and dishonest, they do. I was truly surprised that any of them would sink so low. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at any underhanded shyte they pull, but, they got me again.
When Mitch McConnell declared, publicly, that the GOP would do anything in their power to see that Obama failed as a president, the American people should have demanded some sort of serious reprimand. I mean, that, and what they are attempting now, truly boarders on sedition. They actively conspired to see their president fail. And he IS their president, as much as any other American’s president.
I seriously hope that dems win the white house again, by the biggest landslide in American history.
Nice going Ad. I hope this gets pasted all over the net.
KT – I agree, the Repubs should have been hugely sanctioned by voters when it came out that they would try to sabotage Obama on everything from the day he was inaugurated but they successfully used fear and hatred in 2010 to gerrymander a corrupt majority in The House and take over many seats around the country.
The timing was bad and we’ve paid a price for it. But now, it’s payback time!
Excellent observations AdLib, and yet another excellent article. Everything you have said here regarding the republican party and their continued obstructionist form of governing is true. As sergeant Friday would say “Just the facts Mam, just the facts.”
If we don’t see more participation at the polls this year, if the electorate decides not to get out and vote, I fear it could be the end of our planet as we know it. Yes, I am that serious about the damage the republican party in control of all three branches of our government would be.
Harry Reid will have to in his final session step up to the plate and lead the minority in the senate, the opposition, to one last victory. Since 1925, nominees have first been considered by the bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee, which currently has 20 members 11 Republicans and 9 Democrats. The nominee also traditionally does “courtesy calls” on Capitol Hill to meet with individual senators in advance of the hearing.
The committee members then vote on the nominee. The vote then goes to the full Senate.
To avoid filibusters, Supreme Court appointments still essentially require the consent of 60 senators to go forward.
The current breakdown of the Senate is 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 2 independents, who caucus with the Democrats.
I believe Harry Reid can get the 44 votes of the Democrats and the 2 independents, so that means he has got to by hook crook or pocket book win the votes of 14 republicans. Harry has been around for a long time, I know he must know where a few skeletons are buried. I hope he unscrupulously twist arms in his effort to aid the President in this fight to replace Scalia. The electorate will be behind him, and he could go out in a blaze of glory if he accomplishes this.
The general election is months away, and I believe now is the time to rally the troops behind the President and the democratic candidates. Now is the time to get out the vote, now is the time to show the republicans for what they are, now is the time to let the voting public know just what is at stake in this upcoming election. I believe a fight in the Senate, well publicized, on the net and through word of mouth, because the corporate media won’t help, they are either owned by or bought off by those who would benefit from McConnell’s strategy.
So thanks again for this article AdLib, it will begin my quest to notify voters in the upcoming election of the importance of getting out so that we win the White House and return Senate control to the democrats. 🙂
Hey Monica! Hopefully, Harry can win over a few republicans that just might find this recent ploy by McConnell and other GOPers, the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Maybe enough of them might finally find their lost sense of responsibility to, “we the people,” and our constitution. Is that hoping for too much? Probably. Effing sad.
I sure hope your scenario can come true KT, however as you say, it is soooo sad that with what is happening in politics in this nation it probably won’t happen.
monica, nice rundown on this!
I do think this will energize Dems even more to GOTV. With the SCOTUS position open, Dems really are on the verge of enormous change, all the Repubs can use this for is “Stay the course” which is not a motivating theme in this year. But change really is.
I have been concerned about the enthusiasm Hillary wouldn’t inspire in Dems but this is the missing piece. Even if Hillary doesn’t excite Dems, the opportunity to change the course of the nation profoundly will. And the outrage towards Senate Repubs refusing to vote on Obama’s nom will fire up people too.
This is a big factor for Dems winning in Nov!
This article may interest you folks.
Hypocritical of McConnell to say the least.
Excellent article Nirek! Thank you for posting this. 🙂
Thanks for this, Nirek. For any person with a shred of character or conscience, it could push them to back off of such hypocrisy but that TurtleMan McConnell has neither to interfere with it so I doubt that as he’s exposed for this, he changes his tune.
I have a post about all the Supreme Court Judges that have been appointed in the last 100 years in the last year of a president’s term. 19 of them. Anyway, AdLib, heck it has been so long, I forgot how to post it! Sorry!
Okay, I remember that I have to add something before the http or something. See, Kalima, I told you that you missed me messing up!
Sally, if it’s a link, just copy and paste the Url into your comment. If it’s a video, add a “v” to the end of http like this. https://
And, if it is photo in your own file? Damn, I am old!
You go to Media in your Dashboard, and click on Add New. Upload the file into Media Library, click on the photo and copy the URL, then click on “add an image” under the comment. There will be a drop down box. Copy the URL into that, submit and the image shows up in your comment box.
Once you have done it a few times it’s like riding a bike. 🙂
I give up!
You need to turn that image into a Planetpov URL for it to show up. Media. Add New. Upload file. Media Library. Click on the image and on the right of your screen you will see the Planetpov URL. Copy that. Go to a comment box and click on “add image”. Paste that url into the box and it shows the image in the comment when you reload the page.
How far do you get?
Thanks Kalima! Sally, here’s the link to click to upload your graphic, click on it then click the “Select Files” button and follow Kalima’s instructions, you’ll be set!:
Hey Sally! Is it a YouTube video or a graphic? If it’s a graphic that’s on the web, click the link at the bottom of the comment box that says, “Add an image to your comment by clicking here.”
If it’s a YouTube video, paste the URL and add a “v” after the “http” in the link so it reads “https”.
Let me know if I can help on any of this!
Ad, the House could well fall too. I know they have gerrymandered to make them safe. But you know that every House seat is up for election every two years. We could well see a sweep of the three branches of government by the Democrats and Independents!
If they refuse to confirm an appointment by PBO and Bernie wins, Bernie could well appoint Obama to the SC. If that were to happen, watch out for fireworks! Some republican heads might just explode! Wouldn’t that be something? Bernie as President Dems and Independents ruling the House and Senate and the SC with a 5-4 majority to keep America strong! (I can dream, can’t I)
BTW, excellent post, AdLib as always.
Hey Nirek, yep, that would be a dream I’d love to see come true!
That’s right, if Bernie or Hillary become President AND Dems take back the Senate, Repub heads will explode when a Dem SCOTUS judge is put on the court.
Repubs won’t be able to filibuster the SCOTUS for 4 years, they will be eliminated from the Senate first.
At least right now, there no longer is a Repub majority on the SCOTUS which is big. And when the majority goes against Repubs…that’s what I’ve been counting on to fox so many wrongs in this country. Looking forward to it!