Republicans Should Check and Balance Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

Against all wisdom and common sense, I engaged in a debate online about Senate Republicans potentially filibustering or blocking President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee-to-be to replace Justice Antonin Scalia following the justice’s untimely passing this weekend. Truly, I don’t recommend it. It was not only as futile as all online arguments are (no one is ever convinced of any opinion except the one they went in with. It’s almost exclusively a forum to rant), but it was disturbing in a way that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the blatant, admitted, and poisonous hypocrisy some on the left have in matters of politics.

The vacancy left by the great Scalia (who, as an aside, my opponent in the online “debate” was convinced was a biased right-winger and was petulantly annoyed when I shared this article and told him to educate himself) will be hard to fill simply because the man who created it with his death was so great. That is nearly universally accepted.

But what Democrats seem to want to do is forget the concept of advice and consent (the constitutional provision that gives the Senate the authority to accept or disdain a presidential appointment), even as their own recent history shows their willingness to use it with careless abandon.

For the record, I personally think it would have been wise for Republicans to take the high road and wait for Obama to ACTUALLY nominate someone and then block that person (because the chance that person would have been acceptable to conservatives is essentially nil), but then…perhaps there’s brilliance in just outright saying no to whomever it may be. Because it gave them the chance to pull a Schumer. As Kevin Williamson of National Review writes:

The belief that the Constitution says whatever it is that Democrats want it to say at any given moment is illegitimate as a legal philosophy for Supreme Court justices. Democrats long ago established that ideological disagreement is a perfectly valid reason for blocking a Supreme Court appointee. Senator Schumer spelled out the political case for preventing a lame-duck president from filling a vacancy. Senator Obama demonstrated the technique.

Your rules, gentlemen. Your rules.

There is something deliciously satisfying about pointing out a hypocrisy and having so many examples of it to pull from and hold up, and show the person arguing they’re no different than what they say the mean old Republicans are.

Which is why I allowed myself to get into an online discussion of the SCOTUS issue, despite having a rule against never, ever, ever ever, doing that (if possible).

It just felt too good. I hope there’s more of that to come as we get closer to the election.

In any event, David Harsanyi of The Federalist has the best opinion I’ve seen about why Republicans, on principle, should reject Obama’s SCOTUS pick:

For years Democrats have argued that the president should work around Congress due to the legislative branch’s supposedly deep-rooted obstinacy. As if there was an asterisk somewhere in the Constitution that says “…unless Republicans are being jerks about it.” The president has made this extraconstitutional case the centerpiece of campaigns, and his admirers have heartily cheered the idea. Not only has he changed the conversation, which might be expected, but Democratic Party leaders in the legislative branch have implored him to take power from them, undermining a vital tenet of governance for partisanship. This is the time for Republicans to reinstate some checks and balances, however fleeting it might be.

But prepare yourselves, Senate Republicans…


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