There is an opening on the Supreme Court. A divisive battle is brewing and the rhetoric is heating up. Democrats and Republicans each have their reasons why a nomination should or should not be made to fill the seat. Each say that unless their position is taken, our democracy is at stake.
Democrats argue that Trump should not be allowed to nominate a replacement justice, pointing to the precedent set during President Obama’s last year in office when he had an open Supreme Court seat. Obama put forward a nominee but the Senate refused to hold hearings or a vote on that nominee, with Mitch McConnell arguing that he Senate would not take up a nominee in an election year. At the time, Obama was a Democrat and the Senate was Republican. Obama was within his rights to put forth a nominee and the Senate was within their rights to confirm or not confirm that nominee. The Senate chose not to confirm. That’s politics.
In a 2016 speech, Obama stated “When there is a vacancy on the SCOTUS, the President is to nominate someone, the Senate is to consider that nomination… There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off-years. That’s not in the Constitution text.”
Now we have a situation where both the President and the Senate are both Republican. Each still has the right to carry out the rights they are given even though it is an election year. The President has the right and responsibility to nominate a SC justice. The Senate has the right and responsibility to confirm or not confirm that nominee. The fact that it is an election year should not matter. Both are in office until the next President or Senate are seated. Their powers are not suspended just because of it being an election year.
Does anyone really believe that if the Democrats held both the Presidency and the Senate that they would not be putting forth and attempting to confirm a nominee for the open seat?