Emotions were running high a week ago when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly. We’re in the middle of a crazy election. Partisanship was fashionable, and it’s understandable that U.S. Senators would be quick to react before really thinking things through.
But now that we’ve had about 10 days to let it all sink in, and to allow emotions to cool, we could expected our elected officials to start acting rationally, right?
Oh, how silly of me. I forgot. This is America.
Mitch McConnell and other prominent Senate Republicans held firm on their promise today to not even meet with any nomination President Obama makes to the Supreme Court, putting in motion a singular level of obstructionism that our country has never seen before.
Any precedent that GOP lawmakers tried to use to justify their behavior has failed dismally, as John Oliver eloquently pointed out on the recent Last Week Tonight.
At this point, they’re just making it up as they go along.
The U.S. Constitution dictates that the sitting president fills any Supreme Court vacancies, with Senate approval. It’s well within the Senate’s right to decline a nomination. It happens often. But to overtly declare before the fact that you will not even consider any nominee put forth by the president is an egregious abdication of one’s civic responsibilities.
In what other position in America is it acceptable to refuse to do your job? And not just refuse to do it — but to tell everybody beforehand that you’re not going to do it?
A job, no less, that people pick you for out of confidence that you will perform it to the best of your abilities?
The Senate has never taken longer than 125 days to vote on a president’s Supreme Court nomination. Once Obama makes his choice, it will be more than 300 days until he leaves office.
If this isn’t evidence that our government’s two-part system is broken, I don’t know what is.
It is worth noting that at least two Senate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois, have broken ranks from their party in saying that they would vote on a nominee. It’s a stance that will make them unpopular within the establishment, but says plenty about their character and courage. Unfortunately, there are 52 others that probably do not feel the same way.
We elect Congressmen and women to make decisions. To represent their constituency. We don’t send them to Washington on our behalf to not do their job. How pathetic must we look in the eyes of other countries when our most powerful elected officials renounce their responsibilities?
I can’t speak for any one else, but obviously, this pisses me off. And if I lived in a state in which its Senator decided not to do their own job, then I sure as hell would not vote for them again.
If a Democrat wins the presidency and Republicans maintain the Senate, would they hold off on confirming a nominee for four more years? Eight years, even?
Honestly, nothing would surprise me anymore.