By Dave Andrusko
National Right to Life’s opinion on whom should nominate the next Supreme Court justice is crystal-clear: it is not Barack Obama. Elsewhere at NRL News Today, we have reprinted NRLC President Carol Tobias’ column from the March digital edition of National Right to Life News in which she lays out NRLC’s case for why that is so. Here is one paragraph:
“This is not primarily about the professional credentials of a particular nominee – it is about who picks the justice who will decide whether unborn children will be protected, whether religious liberty will be protected, and whether the free-speech rights of groups out of favor with the liberal elites will be protected. President Obama hopes to decisively shift the Court’s balance on abortion, political free-speech rights, and a host of other issues. Yet, while President Obama has the authority to nominate, he appoints only with the consent of the Senate. The Republican senators have decided that, with an upcoming election in November, the voters should decide what kind of justice they want on the Court by the election of a presidential candidate.”
As you no doubt know, yesterday President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Just prior to that announcement, Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler addressed the position taken by Senate Democrats which he summarized thusly: Republicans have a “’constitutional responsibility’ to at least hold hearings and a vote on a nominee.”
At the conclusion of “Does the Senate have a constitutional responsibility to consider a Supreme Court nomination?” Kessler gives the assertion “Three Pinocchios,” which means it has “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. ”
Kessler begins by pointing out how few justices have served on the High Court (they have life-time appointments) and that “Presidents have submitted 160 nominations, of whom 148 received action on the floor of the Senate.” Then an early clue of his conclusion:
These are not huge numbers, though it does indicate that most nominees are considered by the Senate. But there are even fewer examples of vacancies taking place — and being considered — in a presidential election year. Even more unusual is an instance when the presidency is held by one party and Senate is held by an opposing party. (The one recent example, as we noted, is the case of [William] Brennan, but even then, his confirmation hearings did not take place until after the election.)
Though the examples are few, they tend to support the right of Republicans to handle — or not handle —this nomination as they wish.
The Senate Democrats’ insistence otherwise is
simply telling supporters a politically convenient fairy tale.