U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is the epitome of Republican intransigence, as demonstrated by his continued refusal to allow the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s body was scarcely cold when McConnell announced that any appointment to replace Scalia, who died Feb. 13, must wait until a new president is elected. Although less vocal, Sen. Rand Paul is in the same negative camp.
Of interest, on March 13, three days before President Barack Obama announced his nominee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the president “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.” Obama, in nominating Garland, stated in part that his was “one name that has come up repeatedly from Republicans and Democrats alike.”
It seems clear our senators are more interested in frustrating the president than carrying out their constitutional duty to “advise and consent” on a Supreme Court nominee.
The oft-heard refrain from my party leaders is a shallow suggestion the people should have a voice in the selection of Scalia’s replacement by waiting until after the November election. This implies the electorate will select a president better qualified than Obama to produce a nominee who better meets Senate Republicans’ qualifications, whatever those are. Lots of luck, given that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will most certainly be the new president.
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R. Paul Baumgartner