News / USA

    Obama, Democrats Pledge to Defy Republicans on Court Vacancy

    From left, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., talk to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington about Senate Republicans' refusal to act on any Supreme Court nomination.
    From left, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., talk to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington about Senate Republicans' refusal to act on any Supreme Court nomination.
    Michael Bowman

    One day after Senate Republicans slammed the door on confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year, President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats pledged to continue working to fill the vacancy created by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

    “The Constitution says that I nominate candidates for the Supreme Court when there’s a vacancy, and the Senate exercises its constitutional authority to advise and consent. I’m going to do my job,” Obama said.

    “We just keep pushing it, and I think the public’s on our side,” Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said when asked about her party’s strategy to force Republicans, who control the chamber, to alter their stance.

    FILE - Senator Amy Klobuchar.FILE - Senator Amy Klobuchar.
    FILE - Senator Amy Klobuchar.
    FILE - Senator Amy Klobuchar.

    Klobuchar sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tasked with holding confirmation hearings on federal court nominees. On Tuesday, the committee’s entire Republican membership said there would be no hearings and no consideration whatsoever of any Supreme Court nominee Obama put forward.

    A day later, those committee members vowed to hold firm.

    “A majority in this Senate is not going to move a nominee this year,” said Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama. “It’s not going to happen.”

    “The Senate has every right not to have a hearing, and we shouldn’t go through some motions [of considering a nominee],” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, also a Republican Judiciary Committee member. “This nominee will not be confirmed.”

    'Their job' is to review

    Obama said he aimed to convince them otherwise.

    “My hope and expectation is that once there is an actual nominee, once this is no longer a hypothetical, that those on the Judiciary Committee recognize that their job is to give this person a review, to show the courtesy of meeting with them,” the president said.

    Democrats on the Judiciary Committee echoed that message.

    “My hope remains that the president will nominate someone who is so obviously qualified and so eminently confirmable that it will cause them [Republicans] to reconsider,” Senator Chris Coons of Delaware told VOA.

    FILE - Senator Lindsey Graham.FILE - Senator Lindsey Graham.
    FILE - Senator Lindsey Graham.
    FILE - Senator Lindsey Graham.

    Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina scoffed at the suggestion, saying it mattered “not one lick” who Obama nominated.

    “He could nominate me and I wouldn’t vote for me,” Graham added.

    For now, Democrats are declining to say what they are prepared to do in the event of a yearlong Republican blockade of a Supreme Court nominee. When asked by reporters, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, responded with a question of his own.

    “You mean force senators to actually follow their oath of office and uphold the Constitution?” Leahy said. “Gosh. You know, if someone has taken a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution, you would think they would have a sense of morality and do it.”

    Others are counseling patience.

    “Look, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Coons said. “The president hasn’t yet offered a nominee."

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    Comment Sorting
    by: George from: Evans Mills NY
    February 24, 2016 11:09 PM
    The audacity of these people. Obama has ignored his constitutional duties on many occasions. His failure to enforce immigration laws is just one. Obama's actions have been struck down by the Supreme Court over 20 times, when the Justices ruled against him. No. We'll take Obama's, Schumer's and Biden's past advice, when they argued not to confirm Republican nominations. We still remember Ted Kennedy (the one that killed Mary Joe Kopechne), may he rot in hell, when he destroyed Bork's character during his hearing for Justice. Harry Reid spent years obstructing Senate business by not holding any debates on the Senate floor. Again, these obstructionist Democrat bastards have a lot of nerve criticizing Republicans.

    by: James Dire from: West Hollywood CA USA
    February 24, 2016 6:53 PM
    I heard today that President Obama is considering a Republican, or some other right-winger, as a Supreme Court nominee to placate the obstreperous, obstructionist Republicans in the Senate who refuse to even consider any nominee he puts forward.

    This would be like negotiating an “agreement” with a burglar who you discover in your house—to make him happy you willingly part with your silverware, big-screen TV and car if he leaves your jewelry and cash behind.

    The GOP Senate leadership (as well as their entire spineless caucus) are violating the Constitution by refusing outright to consider any nominee that President Obama sends them. And if Obama tries to get a nominee considered by “bargaining” with these legislative terrorist hostage-takers, he will be violating the Constitution too.


    by: MuchMaligned from: Madison, WI
    February 24, 2016 5:06 PM
    How is this defiance? The president's job is nominate. The Senate's job is to advice and consent. Are you humps unfamiliar with the definitions of these terms?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 24, 2016 4:33 PM
    Democrats are using political propaganda now in the news media, and they and the news media are being hypocritical about the fact that hundreds of bills and federal appointments are held-up in committee and never come to the floor for a vote every year? .. It's a part of the constitution that limits presidential powers to circumvent the constitutional process? .. It's a congressional constitutional process that both sides use every year by the majority party in power? .. Look for the obvious, and ignore the propaganda?

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