The Democrats, with media support, are falling all over themselves clamoring to pressure the Republican controlled Senate to hold confirmation hearings for Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia. In this case, however, I’m afraid I must bow to the previous collective wisdom of uber liberal Democrats Chuck E. Shumer and Joe Biden.
During a speech at a convention of the American Constitution Society in July 2007, Schumer said if any new Supreme Court vacancies opened up, Democrats should not allow Bush the chance to fill it except in extraordinary circumstances. “We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer said, according to Politico. Notably, when he made his remarks in 2007, Bush had about seven more months remaining in his presidential term than Obama has remaining in his.
As reported in the Washington Post, Joe Biden who, while serving in 1992 as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered a 90-minute floor address that included a call for halting action on Supreme Court nominees in an election year.
Biden delivered his remarks in late June. Were there a vacancy, Biden argued, Bush should “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” and if he did, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over. Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself,” he continued. “Where the nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties.”
Embedded in the roughly 20,000 words he delivered on the Senate floor that day were rebuttals to virtually every point Democrats have brought forth in the past week to argue for the consideration of Obama’s nominee.
Biden anticipated, for instance, that he would be accused of blockading an embattled Republican president’s nominees out of political expediency. “That would not be our intention,” he said. “Instead, it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process.”
There is, of course, an alternative path the Republicans could take. In this case they could take a page from the Democrats’ playbook. They could give Obama’s nominee a fair hearing and then “BORK” him.