It’s only been a few short days and already I’m sick and tired of Republicans trying to make up ridiculous excuses as to why they’re going to prevent President Obama from nominating a Supreme Court Justice. We all know why they’re doing it (it’s Obama’s last year and they think they can delay just enough to hopefully have a Republican replace him next year), but the way these folks are distorting history – and even our Constitution – is an absolute joke.
Well, despite the fact that he has absolutely nothing to do with this process, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decided to chime in on the whole situation, naturally backing his colleagues in the Senate in saying that we should wait until a new president is elected.
“The Supreme Court is not an extension of the White House. The president has absolutely every right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, but Congress as an equal branch also has every right not to confirm someone,” Ryan said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are knee-deep into a presidential election and I think the precedent for not filling a Supreme Court vacancy in such a time is justified.”
First, there’s no “precedent.” This idea Republicans keep pushing out there that there’s some sort of unwritten rule about this is absurd. The reason why filling a Supreme Court vacancy in a president’s final year is so rare is because most Justices in this day and age retire on their own terms – not die suddenly while still on the bench. Not only that, but a presidential election and the duties of a current president as defined by our Constitution have nothing to do with one another. It’s not as if President Obama is out of office in six weeks – he has 11 months left in office. That’s nearly one-fourth of the entire second term to which the American people elected him to serve.
After spitting on the Constitution, Speaker Ryan then proceeded to distort history.
“Democrats would be doing exactly the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot,” he continued. “I think everyone is going to make spin that benefits their side. I think it’s pretty obvious.”
The problem is, when Democrats were faced with a similar situation in 1988, the Democrat-controlled Senate (along with Republicans) voted 97-0 to confirm Justice Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court – in Ronald Reagan’s final year in office. So don’t give me this nonsense about “Democrats would do the same thing.” Factual history tell us that when Democrats were faced with something similar, they did their jobs as the Constitution says they were supposed to do.
Not only that, but current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was part of that vote. So not only are these excuses ridiculous, but they’re completely hypocritical considering the leader of Republicans in the Senate has already been a part of (and in favor of) a final year presidential Supreme Court replacement.
This is all ludicrous. If this were October, I would probably say Republicans had a point. Just a few weeks away from an election, it would make sense to wait until after a new president is elected to nominate Scalia’s replacement. But with nearly a full year left in President Obama’s final year in office, it’s completely absurd. And if Republicans do hold this up until after the election, I sincerely hope liberals make them pay dearly for it by showing up in huge numbers to make damn sure our next president is either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
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