Image in public domain courtesy of Curator of the Supreme Court of the United States
A couple of hours ago I posted on Senator Charles Grassley’s reticence in responding to an invitation to meet with Barack Obama and discuss a confirmation process for his putative nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Earlier Leon had posted on Mitch McConnell’s adamant rejection (yeah, I know, we’ve heard that before) of any nomination by Obama.
Obama’s hole card has always been senators from purplish/bluish states up for reelection because he clearly intends to try to make Scalia’s non-replacement a campaign issue. How? Who the hell knows, in fact polls show that a large minority of Americans have never heard of Antonin Scalia… or probably the Supreme Court. Now that option seems to be slipping away.
GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman said they would not meet with a Supreme Court nominee, the latest sign that even at-risk Republican incumbents are digging in behind Mitch McConnell as his Senate majority hangs in the balance.
In an interview, Ayotte (R-N.H.) said abstaining from a sit-down meeting with a prospective Supreme Court justice would be consistent with her and much of the Senate GOP’s position to not take any action at all on President Barack Obama’s nomination.
“No, no … in terms of the advise and consent process, I believe we should wait to have the people weigh in on who the next president is. And to weigh in, obviously, based on who … that next president will nominate,” Ayotte said on Wednesday morning.
Portman (R-Ohio) also said Wednesday he wouldn’t meet with a potential Obama pick.
“Not if we’re not going to move forward,” said Portman, who’s under attack from expected general election opponent Ted Strickland, a former democratic governor.
It is still way, way too early to count coup on this attempt by an unpopular lame duck president to change the nature of the Supreme Court — just remember all those votes to defund ObamaCare — but it is beginning to look like more weak GOP senators are worried about losing Republican votes by going along with this sham than they are with trying to win Democrat votes.