The fight to replace recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is heating up, with both Democrats and Republicans weighing in on the matter.
The consensus by Republicans is that the nomination should be made by the next president, not President Barack Obama. At the same time, statements made by Democrats, including Obama, indicate the Democrats will move swiftly to nominate a replacement.
Hillary Clinton tweeted out what MSNBC called a “firestorm” of tweets, charging the Senate with the task of swiftly confirming a nomination for the vacant SCOTUS seat. However, as even MSNBC noted, moving swiftly to confirm a SCOTUS nomination wasn’t something Clinton tried to do when George W. Bush was president in 2005.
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From 2001 to 2003, Senate Democrats used the filibuster to reject ten presidential nominees for federal judge positions. Later, in July 2005, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement. And in September of that year, Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away. Subsequently, Bush was charged with nominating replacements for two open SCOTUS seats. When Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to replace O’Connor, Senate Democrats including Clinton and Obama attempted to filibuster Alito’s nomination.
Clinton’s recent tweets telling the Senate to quickly approve a Scalia replacement when Obama presents a nominee are in complete contrast with Clinton’s full and active participation in the delay of a Supreme Court nominee while she was a senator, an apparent hypocrisy which MSNBC noted on Tuesday.
MSNBC ran a video from 2005 in which Clinton spoke out against the nomination of Alito. “He has rarely sided with individuals seeking relief from discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender, or disability. In fact, in the vast majority of civil rights cases, Judge Alito has sided with those who would infringe on the civil rights of Americans,” she said.
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The attempt to filibuster Alito failed, and he was confirmed in January of 2006.
Ironically, since that time, Senate Democrats have made it easier for Republicans to block a potential Scalia replacement by changing the rules of the Senate to allow for the “nuclear option.” Senate Democrats including Harry Reid employed the nuclear option to quickly confirm Obama appointees by allowing for a simple majority vote.
As Hollywood actor James Woods tweeted earlier this week, “Chickens will come home to roost, @HarryReid.” It’s now quite possible, even probable, the Democrats will have a tougher time with their nomination because of their historic use of the filibuster and the nuclear option, something Senate Republicans have surely not forgotten.
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