Beginning today you are going to see tons of stuff in the media on the subject of Obama nominating a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (and he does have every right to make a nomination) and obligation of the US Senate to take any action on that nominee (they have no such obligation). Nearly all of it will be hysterical. Not hysterical, as in funny (though it will be that, too), but hysterical as in deriving from hysteria. Like this from the every hysterical and hysterical Amanda Marcotte:
In an astounding display of partisan pettiness that is low even for their bottom-feeding standards, Republicans came together as one within hours of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death to register their outrage that this Barack Obama fellow dare suggest he should nominate a replacement, just because the Constitution, which every conservative swears he sleeps with under his pillow at night, says he should.
The disingenuous posturing about how a president who has an entire year left in his term should simply stop doing his job is even more transparent than usual. Everyone knows the real reason is the conservative base has never accepted that a black Democrat could be a legitimately elected President, and after 7 years of having to live with a President the majority of white voters voted against, Republicans are going to use this as a chance to throw a nationwide temper tantrum.
The next few weeks, possibly months (possibly 11 months!) are going to suck for whatever sacrificial lamb (or lambs) Obama throws up for the Republicans to reject in an impotent attempt to register their continuing anger that he just keeps sitting in the White House like the duly elected President he is. But for the rest of the Democrats, this is going to be a political boon.
This goes double for Hillary Clinton, who will be able to use the ongoing fight over the Supreme Court to push her argument that her brand of liberal politics is the best fit for our current political climate, better both than the idealism offered by Bernie Sanders and than the politics of obstruction and resentment that define all her Republican opponents.
Back in an age when sanity had any value, you’d have been able to buy tickets to watch Marcotte eat feces and purchase sticks to poke her with.
Mitch McConnell has said that the right to replace Scalia belongs to the next president. This is not only correct thinking but it is a line of thought that has bipartisan support. For instance, back in July 2007, a year and a half before George Bush left office, Chuck Schumer had this to say:
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”
“We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”
It would seem, then, that this is a settled matter. In fact, the “Schumer Rule” states that a president of the opposite party shall not get a Supreme Court nominee in his last two years in office.