“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice…Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY).
With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Scalia Republicans have taken their hatred of and bigotry towards President Obama to another level. Mainstream media is failing to call out the Republicans hypocrisy for what it is. McConnell and his racist band of thieves have taken the Supreme Court hostage and the American people don’t have the guts to pay the ransom.
There are a few simple problems with McConnell’s statement referenced above. First, the American people have already spoken regarding the selection of Justice Scalia’s successor. Their voices were heard loud and clear when they elected Senator Obama as President on November 4, 2008. Their voices were even louder when President Obama was reelected for a second term on November 6, 2012. Second, there is no constitutional nor historical support for the position taken by McConnell and his minions.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution is very clear on the issueof selecting and confirming a Supreme Court nominee. The President shall have the power to “…nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…”
By blocking President Obama’s nominee Republicans have decided that they are going to potentially suspend the effectiveness of the Supreme Court just as they have brought the people’s business, the work of Congress to a screeching halt. Without Scalia’s replacement the Court is operating with eight justices. If the Court gets deadlocked in a 4-4 vote, the lower court (usually a state supreme court) decision is upheld. The Supreme Court is neutered.
Republicans bigotry runs so deep that they would rather have a dysfunctional government than allow an African American President to effectively govern. They have tried to mask their hatred as an ideological difference.
According to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) “we are 1 justice away from a liberal majority”. Even if that is true would that really be that bad? The most liberal Supreme Court by most measures was the Warren Court (1953 – 1969). Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Republican Gov. of California was nominated by aRepublican President, Dwight Eisenhower. Warren was confirmed with a unanimous voice vote by a Democratic Senate.
The Warren court gave us the Brown case, Miranda Rights, applied the exclusionary rule protecting us against illegal search and seizure to state courts (Mapp v. Ohio); extended the right to counsel in all criminal cases (Gideon) and constructed the right to privacy (Griswold).
Since the “right to privacy” is not explicitly stated in the Constitution many Conservatives have questioned the Warren Courts “construction” of the right to privacy in the Griswold case. The Warren Court constructed the right based upon protections provided in the First Amendment, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Today, the right to privacy is at the crux of the argument being presented by those siding with Apple as it challenges the FBI’s request to unlock iPhones. This is another example of the power of forward thinking by a “liberal” court.
Journalists need to ask McConnell why President Obama should not be allowed to appoint a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of his term if it was constitutionally permissible for President Reagan to appoint Anthony Kennedy during Reagan’s last year in office. A Senate controlled by Democrats confirmed Kennedy with 97-0 vote. It’s also interesting, if not hypocritical that McConnell and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) voted for Kennedy during Reagans last year.
Grassley has recently said, “The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year.” Either Grassley has forgotten his vote for Kennedy in 1988, he can’t do simple math or he’s a hypocrite and a racist.
Why didn’t President Obama make a recess appointment to fill Scalia’s seat? Section II, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution also states, “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” It’s understood that such a recess appointee to the Supreme Court holds office only until the end of the next Senate session, no President since Eisenhower has made one and they have become quite controversial. Desperate times call for desperate measures. These are desperate times!
According to The New York Times, once Senate leaders said, “…that there would be no confirmation hearings, no vote, not even a courtesy meeting with President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, all but slamming shut any prospects for an election-year Supreme Court confirmation” President Obama should have taken charge, used his Constitutional authority, appointed an African American woman and forced their hand.Imagine the political optics behind that move. That would have been the Machiavellian move. Instead, he wants to talk with leadership and try to find “common ground”. He’s bringing a pea shooter to gun fight.
At the end of the day this is really simple. There’s no constitutional or historic support for the Republican misleadership’s position. They are operating based upon their bigotry towards and hatred of America’s first African American President and mainstream American media is allowing them to get away with it (and so is Obama).
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com