A recycled hashtag has begun circulating on Twitter; #DoYourJob has popped up in response to the Republicans’ refusal to consider President Obama’s recently announced Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Immediately following the announcement of the president’s announcement of his nominee, Republicans (led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) announced that they would not consider the president’s nominee, but rather they want to “give the people a voice” and wait until after the 2016 presidential election to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia.
According to a report by The Advocate, Senator McConnell has even accused the sitting president of “politicizing” the unexpected death of Justice Scalia for political gain.
The Kentucky Senator is leading a campaign, “give people a voice,” on social media. In response, Democrats have been pushing their own hashtag, #DoYourJob.
The #DoYourJob hashtag began circulating after Republicans published a Twitter video featuring Vice President Biden in 1992. In the video, the then-senator said that the Senate shouldn’t be confirming Supreme Court nominees during election years; Republican’s have dubbed this the “Biden Rule.” The #DoYourJob hashtag folks disagree.
— Peter McConeghy (@petersthoughts) March 16, 2016
Not surprisingly, and in the spirit of the #DoYourJob hashtag, Joe Biden had a few words to say about Republicans’ “Biden Rule” reference, taking to Twitter to have his say.
As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I made sure every #SCOTUSnominee got a hearing, committee vote and floor vote. Even those I opposed.
— Vice President Biden (@VP) March 16, 2016
The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, had some words to say about an exiting president nominating a life-long Supreme Court justice, as well. His words definitely failed to embrace the spirit of the #DoYourJob hashtag.
“A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics.”
A prominent anti-LGBT nonprofit group, Liberty Counsel, had similar thoughts, sending out a distraught email telling all who read it that Senate Republicans can’t be trusted to “hold firm to their word that they will not conisder the President’s SCOTUS nominees.” Clearly, Senate Republicans are getting pressure from sources well beyond the #DoYourJob hashtag proponents.
“The Left is employing every strategy possible to force an opportunity that could reshape the Court, sending the Constitution, our nation, and our culture careening down a path that would adversely impact the American people for generations!”
#DoYourJob hashtag opponents, the Republican National Committee, have called out the President personally, calling him a “lame duck.” The Committee also called the President’s follow-through on his Constitutional duty to try to fill the Supreme Court vacancy a “disservice” to the high court.
— Republicans (@NRSC) March 16, 2016
The fact is that the #DoYourJob hashtag people have it right. Since 1900 (at least) every single Supreme Court nominee, including all who were nominated during the final year of a presidency, have been voted on. They haven’t all been confirmed, but the #DoYourJob hashtag proponents aren’t asking for a promise of a confirmation. They are simply asking for what they are demanding of their Senators, namely to #DoYourJob.
“The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election. In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years.”
Even Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the #DoYourJob hashtag, stating that everyone nominated for a place on the Supreme Court has been voted on in 125 days or less. That’s every single Supreme Court nominee in the history of the Supreme Court. The average time between nomination and a decision (either confirmation or rejection) is under two months, something the #DoYourJob hashtag folks seem to know all too well.
Despite the lack of historical precedence to back up their behavior, and in direct opposition to the #DoYourJob hashtag’s aims, U.S. Republican Senators have remained defiant, refusing to even consider a third Obama Supreme Court nominee.
Obama’s previous nominees to the high court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, were both confirmed by the U.S. Senate without the pressure of the #DoYourJob hashtag (in 2009 and 2010, respectively). Coincidentally, both of Obama’s previous Supreme Court nominees voted in favor of last summer’s historic marriage equality case.
Many of the Senators targeted by the #DoYourJob hashtag have directly opposed same-sex marriage and other legal protections and considerations for LGBT couples.
It’s too early to tell whether or not the #DoYourJob hashtag will have the desired effect, or if the Republican Senate will continue to refuse to do their jobs. One thing’s clear; the U.S. electorate, both those who support the #DoYourJobs hashtag and those who don’t, is paying close attention to this Supreme Court battle.
[Image Courtesy Of Alex Wong/Getty Images]