February 15, 2016 by David K. Sutton
SCOTUS: 2005 McConnell Has A Bone To Pick With 2016 McConnell
After news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation. In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators. -Mitch McConnell (2005)
[T]he Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote. I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.’ -Mitch McConnell (2005)
I guess if I was being fair to McConnell, I would point out that both sides do play these games, because it is true that Democrats, during George W. Bush’s presidency, did indeed want to give the Senate more power to block confirmation of judicial nominees. I know Democrats believed they had good reason to block Bush’s nominations, and I don’t disagree, but this makes us look a bit hypocritical in our push-back against McConnell’s statement on Saturday (even if we still believe we are correct). What do you think?