Senator Elizabeth Warren. (photo: AP)
16 February 16
nly a few hours after Justice Antonin Scalia suddenly died this past weekend, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that the vacancy on the Supreme Court shouldn’t be filled until the next President is sworn in next January.
Senator McConnell said the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. He’s right – and, in fact, they did – when President Barack Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says the President of the United States nominates justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate. I can't find a clause that says "...except when there's a year left in the term of a Democratic President.”
President Obama is still the President of the United States. If some Senators don’t like the person that President Obama nominates, they can make their case to the American people and vote no. But it would be arrogant and irresponsible for Senate Republicans to preemptively paralyze the nomination process laid out by our Constitution – before President Obama even announces a nominee – simply because they don’t like the guy who was elected to do the nominating.
Senate Republicans took an oath just like Senate Democrats did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold would threaten both the Constitution and our democracy itself. It would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that – empty talk.