President Obama Rejects GOP call to Let The President Elect Choose Scalia’s Successor
The Republicans are at it again. In response to the republicans President Obama vowed to nominate an “indisputably qualified” candidate to the Supreme Court, in a bold stance announcing his rejection of the Republican call that he cede the pick to his successor because the Court vacancy comes late in his presidency and in the middle of an election year and forego one of the most important and powerful opportunities a president gets.
“There’s no unwritten law that says it can only be done on off years,” Obama said at a news conference marking the end of a summit with Southeast Asian leaders. The news conference focused exclusively on domestic political concerns and Mideast strife. However, media flooded the conference with questions about the selection of a successor for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last weekend while on a hunting trip in Texas.
“That’s not in the constitutional text. I’m amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there,” the President said.
Interestingly, the Republicans seem to forget that President Obama taught Constitutional Law a the University of Chicago. They are remiss the failed implications towards U of C home of one of the premiere law schools in the world. So whether or not he was a Lecturer or Professor (which became subject of another Republic attack escapade against Obama), he apparently met with the universities prerequisites to teach Constitutional law qualifying him as an expert on Constitutional law.
This being the case should be reason enough to back the Republicans off. It is not
The president framed the standoff in the context evidence of Washington social practice that undermines the system, saying the process will test whether Congress can rise above its recent history of partisan rancor to complete a fundamental constitutional task. Obama, knows all too well the law. He participated in an unsuccessful filibuster aimed at blocking the 2006 nomination of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., said “venom and rancor” have become commonplace in the Senate’s consideration of presidential appointees. He acknowledged that both parties were to blame.
“It’s not something that I have spent a huge amount of time talking about, because frankly the American people, on average, they’re more interested in gas prices and wages and issues that touch on their day-to-day lives in a more direct way, so it doesn’t get a lot of political attention,” he said. “But this is the Supreme Court, and it’s going to get some attention.”
There are difficulties ahead facing both Republicans and Democrats as the President battles to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by the sudden passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Obama’s remarks came as a small number of key Republicans actually expressed a willingness to hold hearings on a potential nominee, creating a splintered view on the party’s position. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office said the chamber’s Republicans were united in opposing any new Obama appointee to the Supreme Court, but comments from other key lawmakers suggested the possibility of a compromise.
The possibility of cooperation loomed, when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he “would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision” on whether to hold hearings on the president’s candidate. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”
Others outside of the handful who challenge the President regarding his pursuit to replace Scalia include Grassley, who is up for reelection this fall, however noted that election-year politics would not figure in his decision.
“I think I have a responsibility to perform, and I can’t worry about the election,” he said. “I’ve got to do my job as a senator, whatever it is. And there will be a lot of tough votes between now and the next election.”
Freshman Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said that Republicans could not expect Obama to choose a nominee in the mold of Scalia, who for almost 30 years has been the ideological leader of the court’s conservative bloc. Perhaps his insight spoke volumes when he as a guest on “The Tyler Cralle Show” on WAAV in Wilmington, N.C., Tillis said that Republicans should worry about coming across as blocking the president out of partisan spite.
“I think we fall into the trap if we just simply say ‘Sight unseen’ “ the Senate won’t consider the nominee, Tillis said, “we fall into the trap of being obstructionist.”
It’s a salmon’s swim upstream for the Republicans struggling to establish a unified public position. Given their track record throughout President Obama’s administration, Senate Democrats predicted that the GOP would cave and allow full committee hearings and a confirmation vote on an eventual nominee.
“This is a huge overreach by Leader McConnell,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the number-three Democratic leader,” according to the Washington Post.
But Republicans inclined to hold a vote on the nomination are sure to face a political backlash on the right.
“The strategy that makes the most sense is to say that there should not be any consideration of this nominee,” Curt Levey, executive director of the FreedomWorks Foundation, said in an interview with TPM. “It would be irrelevant to have a hearing because it’s the situation: the fact that it’s an election year, the fact that his policies are before the court, the fact that the court is so finely balanced at the moment.”
It can’t be ignored that the battle over Scalia’s replacement spills into Senate races. That’s a fact.
Meanwhile the political debate gained momentum, White House officials deliberated on possible nominees.
Several individuals familiar with the process said Obama, a former constitutional law professor, tends to give more consideration to how a jurist might operate over decades rather than to the immediate politics of the moment.
While the White House counsel’s office has a long-standing list of possible candidates, the list is updated once a seat opens up, and the president receives dossiers on potential nominees. When the list is narrowed to half a dozen or fewer, the president conducts personal interviews.
If the President follows the process he has in the past, “When he makes the final, final decision, he’s in a room by himself,” said Ron Klain, who helped spearhead the confirmation campaigns for Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan during the president’s first term. “I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how deeply and personally the president takes this decision. This is something he really does himself.”
The President ruled out making an appointment during a congressional recess, an option, which would not require a confirmation vote, saying he expected the process to go through the usual order.