The left couldn’t wait to turn the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia into a circus. Within hours of the news, liberals were taking to social media to claim that Barack Obama was being treated as “only 3/5th’s of a President” because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that a new Justice wouldn’t be confirmed until after the 2016 Presidential election in November.
It’s not a big surprise that liberals played the race card. When don’t they play the race card? Race is their favorite tantrum when they can’t get their way. They love being upset and angry about race – they cling bitterly to such emotions.
It is surprising that they have such a pressing desire for an Obama nominee to be seated on the Supreme Court. Do they lack confidence in Hillary or Sanders to win the White House? Sure seems that way. After all, if the Senate defers confirmation proceedings until after the election couldn’t Hillary or Sanders simply nominate someone Obama would have?
It goes without saying that the left has already begun constructing a strawman to try and pressurize the conversation surrounding a new Justice in order to force the Senate to confirm Obama’s nominee. The left has trotted out the example of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s confirmation as precedent for election year SCOTUS Justice confirmation.
Thing is, Kennedy’s example isn’t that precedent:
– Lewis F Powell Jr retired from the Supreme Court on June 26, 1987 – a full sixteen months BEFORE – the 1988 Presidential election.
On July 1, 1987 Reagan nominated Robert Bork to fill the Powell vacancy. A Democratically controlled Senate scuttled Bork’s candidacy using liberal scare tactics. For example, Senator Ted Kennedy warned,
Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is and is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.
(As evil as Democrats pretended Robert Bork to be, they didn’t remove him as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; he’d hold that position until voluntarily resigning in February 1988 to teach law at George Mason University).
Douglas Ginsberg was the next nominee for the court. Ginsberg withdrew his nomination on November 8, 1987 amid allegations of marijuana use during the 1960s and 1970s. Had he not dropped out, Democrats were frank and open about delaying his confirmation. Then Senator Joe Biden suggested confirmation hearings wouldn’t have begun until at least December 7, 1987 and probably later than that if the American Bar Association or Office of Government Ethics failed to provide complete investigation reports on Ginsberg to the Senate.
Anthony Kennedy was the third choice to fill Lewis Powell Jr’s former seat. He was nominated by Ronald Reagan on November 30, 1987 and confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1988. Democrats controlled the Senate then and could have taken a shorter holiday break in order to confirm Kennedy sooner than February 3 if they wanted to.
Before the advent of today’s 24/7 media cycle and it’s accompanying endless political campaigns, February 3 in 1988 was well clear of that year’s Presidential election. By that date the Republican Party had held only one primary (Michigan on January 14). The next were Hawaii on February 4, Kansas on February 7, and the Iowa Caucus on February 8. The Democratic primary schedule didn’t even feature a primary or caucus on or before February 3rd. Their first contest was Iowa on February 8 then New Hampshire on February 16 – towards the end of that month they also held primaries in Maine and Minnesota.
Barack Obama is well within his authority to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice. In fact, he has to. The Constitution says so.
A Republican-controlled Senate is well within it’s authority to decline Obama’s nominee or to defer confirmation until our next President is elected. The Senate can do either provided Mitch McConnell doesn’t buckle under pressure. Again, the Constitution says so.
If liberals are afraid that the two individuals that most accurately represent them — Hillary and Sanders –- can’t win the White House, they ought to have pursued a smarter ideology resulting in a better slate of White House contenders. Their failure to do this is their problem, not everyone else’s. The entire confirmation process for Supreme Court Justices doesn’t have to be pretzel-twisted in order to massage their flaccid egos and clean-up their train-wreck agenda.
Image: Anthony Kennedy – The Oyez Project, Public Domain, https://commons.