Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and fellow Senate Republicans are wrong not to consider or vote on President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his 54-member GOP caucus was united against taking any step in the Senate’s “advise and consent” process.
McConnell said the Judiciary Committee will not hold confirmation hearings for the nominee and that the committee and the full Senate will not vote.
The president promised to carry out his constitutional duty to nominate a successor to fill the vacancy.
“I’m going to do my job,” Obama said.
Senate Republicans are putting the Supreme Court’s credibility at risk if they make good on their vow not to consider or vote on Obama’s pick to replace Scalia.
The question is whether the American people will allow Toomey and other Senate Republicans not do their job without suffering serious political consequences.
Toomey and his Republican colleagues have doubled down on opposing Obama’s nominee even without knowing who the nominees will be.
The senator said a vacancy on the Supreme Court for the next 11 months would not be “that big a deal,” while arguing the confirmation process could be tainted by the impending presidential election.
“It’s very unlikely that any nominee, however well qualified,” would be considered, Toomey said.
The senator, who seeks a second six-year term in the 2016 election, could not be more wrong.
By snubbing Obama’s nominee, Toomey and other Senate Republicans are eroding the ability of any future president to pick judges.
This shortsighted partisan move could have long term negative consequences for the nation including a future where there are several vacancies on the court and irreparable damage to the credibility of the courts and congress.
The hope is that once Republicans are faced with an actual candidate they can examine, GOP opposition would lessen.
Judiciary Committee members should recognize that it is their job to give this person a hearing and then let their conscience dictate whether to approve or reject his nominee.
Voters should send Toomey and the GOP-controlled Senate a strong and clear message that they expect them to keep party politics out of the confirmation process.
Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune