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Shortly after the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Republicans in the Senate pledged that they would not consider a nomination from President Obama for a replacement. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed, “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
President Obama has both the Constitution and history on his side, and he should announce a nominee as soon as possible. Article II of the Constitution directs the president to nominate and, “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” appoint Supreme Court judges. There is no special loophole for election years. In fact, there are 11 instances where the Senate took action on a Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year.
It’s time for the Senate to do its job: give Obama’s nominee a fair hearing and timely vote. The American people deserve a fully functional Supreme Court – not another institution bogged down in partisan gridlock.
Since Republicans took control of the Senate in January 2015, they have blocked the President’s attempts to fill vacancies on the 12 federal courts of appeal.
CWA and allies are continuing to fight for Senate rules reform which began in 2010 through the Democracy Initiative’s Fix the Senate Now campaign, to ensure that qualified nominees can receive fair hearings and up-or-down votes.