The Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, both insist that a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court should not be approved in a presidential election year and they insist instead that the nation wait until the next President is elected, about nine months from now.
Both Majority Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley approved and voted for President Ronald Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee, Circuit Judge Anthony Kennedy, in a presidential election year, 1988, when President Reagan was a “lame duck.” (You may want to listen to what Chairman Grassley said in 1988 at Judge Kennedy’s confirmation hearings – http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4580671/grassley-supports-kennedy).
The vagaries of when a presidential nomination may occur has no bearing on what the constitution requires.
Especially when there have been 13 other Justices approved in presidential election years in our nation’s still young history including Justices Oliver Ellsworth (1796), Samuel Chase (1796), William Johnson (1804), Philip Barbour (1836), Roger Taney (1836), Melville Fuller (1888), George Shiras (1892), Mahlon Pitney (1912), John Clarke (1916), Louis Brandeis (1916), Benjamin Cardoza (1932), and Frank Murphy (1940).
The Senate’s refusal to meet its constitutional obligation has allowed us to see how the independence and function of the Supreme Court shall be compromised. Continue reading