You have to hand it to Republicans. After years of trying and failing around every turn to upend the Obama administration, they’ve finally found a way to make it as if he was never elected in the first place.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, run by the Republicans, has officially voted to block any and all Supreme Court nominations that President Obama makes between now and the end of his second and final term next January. As reported on The Hill, they vowed block anyone Obama tries to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with, and the committee will not hold any hearings or votes on the nominees in 2016.
“We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president,” Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters Tuesday after a special meeting of the committee. (source)
Whether or not you think an outgoing president should have a say on the Supreme Court justice makeup in his final term, the Constitution lists no “lame duck exemption.” In fact, the general assumption has been for the last nearly 240 years that when we hold a presidential election we are choosing someone we trust to make that exact call at any time in their presidency.
In 2008 and 2012 we held elections and in each, more than 65 million votes were cast for Obama. On aggregate that means that over 130 million times Americans have felt confident in Obama’s decision making to give him the chance to pick a Supreme Court Justice, but Republicans on the Senate Judiciary just basically ripped up all 130 million votes because they don’t feel like adhering to the Constitution.
I don’t put so much stock and faith in old, dead, white elitist landowners to pretend as if they knew more about the world I live in than I do. And I certainly would have no problem revamping huge swaths of our founding document to better align it with the modern age, but Republicans are the ones that act as if the Constitution was ripped straight from the Bible in terms of holiness and import. Yet, here we are, staring them in the face as they tell us that 130 million votes of confidence in Obama aren’t good enough.
They know, deep down, they might not get a chance to hold their slim majority on the Supreme Court for much longer, and that’s why they are ignoring the law of the land now. They know if Obama gets someone nominated and onto the court, they’d need to get a Republican into the White House this fall. Otherwise, if Obama tips the court left, and they also lose in November, it will be at least four years of moderately to fully-progressive court decisions. And — gasp! — we simply can’t be telling corporations they’re not people anymore right?
So now, voters of America, the question comes to you — how do you feel about a party, any party that invalidates your votes?
If you’re a Republican would you want Democrats playing these games? Of course not, because back in ’92 when then-Senator Biden was playing the same kinds of games with lame-duck George H.W. Bush, it was just as wrong back then. We keep saying that elections have consequences and in this country one of them is not getting to make the Supreme Court picks if your side loses, which the GOP has done spectacularly well as of late.
So what will the voters do this fall? Will they punish Republicans if they invalidate more than 130 million votes? Or will they simply roll over, find the remote, and put the TV on a reality show instead? Then again, if Trump wins, they may be seeing a lot more B-grade talented reality TV stars than they could possibly have hoped for.