No sooner had President Obama announced his pick to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia than conservatives everywhere began to brace themselves for how our GOP leadership would respond. Will they stand up to Obama this time, people asked? They darn well better, people warned.
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared almost immediately after Scalia’s death that his vacancy should not be filled until the next president in office — but given his track record of (not) standing up to this president, many of us doubted we could count on him.
Today, McConnell has just confirmed his intentions for Obama’s SCOTUS pick, speaking from the Senate floor. He insisted the Senate will not proceed with the confirmation process — and that the next president should fill this critical vacancy.
Like Obama did in naming his nominee, McConnell is citing the Constitution in defending his perspective, saying:
“It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent.”
Amen to that.McConnell also cited a “rule” that we’re likely to hear cited a whole lot in the coming months. Via The Hill:
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” he said.
“The Senate will continue to observe the ‘Biden Rule’ so the American people have a voice in this momentous decision. The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.”
As he has done repeatedly, McConnell on Wednesday cited remarks Vice President Biden made when he was Senate Judiciary Chairman in 1992. At the time, Biden said a hypothetical Supreme Court opening should not be filled during a presidential election year, and that it was acceptable for the court to only have eight justices temporarily.
“President Obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person, but as I just noted, his own vice president made clear it’s not,” McConnell continued. “The Biden Rule reminds us that the decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle, not a person.”
Watch McConnell’s remarks yourself:
We shared Biden’s remarks with y’all earlier — watch them again here and share this with your liberal friends crying foul on Facebook.
These are just the first salvos fired in what no doubt will be a fierce battle. It’s going to be a long eight months…
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]