Mitch McConnell, hours after news broke about the death of Antonin Scalia, stated that the Republican-controlled Senate would not hold hearings to confirm a new Supreme Court justice appointed by President Obama. McConnell stated that the reason was simply that the United States was in the middle of a heated contest to decide who would be elected President of the United States this November. Many believed that Mitch McConnell was playing politics and did not want President Obama to appoint someone to the highest court in the country.
— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) March 17, 2016
Even though Mitch McConnell had been defiant about what the Senate would and would not do, many people believed that his tone would change once President Obama officially made his selection. That day was yesterday. President Obama announced that Merrick Garland was his choice to fill the spot left open by the passing of Antonin Scalia. McConnell stayed firm in stating that the Senate would not be holding a confirmation hearing for Garland. McConnell cited the “Biden rule” as the reason. McConnell believes that Vice President Joe Biden set a precedent when he was in the United States Senate. A video of Senator Biden saying that a President should not be able to appoint a person to the Supreme Court can be found below.
Besides citing the Biden rule, Mitch McConnell has also stated that he feels the American people should have a voice in who the next Supreme Court Justice will be. According to McConnell, the American people’s voices will be heard by selecting the next President of the United States, knowing that who they elect will be the person to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice. McConnell elaborated further on the Biden rule and the American people’s role in selecting who will take the spot of Antonin Scaia in a statement on the Senate floor.
“American people may well elect a president who decided nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration; the next president may decide to nominate someone very different. Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. President Obama made this nomination not with the intent with seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election, which is the type of thing then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Biden was concerned about; the exact thing Chairman Biden was concerned about. The Biden rule underlines that what the president has done with this nomination would be unfair to any nominee.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) March 16, 2016
The Constitution is clear on the process of appointing a person to the Supreme Court. The President of the United States is the only person with the authority to nominate a person to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court. The Senate’s role in the process is to give advice and give consent to the person selected by the President. The Senate does this by investigating the person and by holding a confirmation hearing in order to determine if the person fits the mold of what a Supreme Court Justice should be. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the Senate must confirm whoever the President nominates.
Mitch McConnell is urging his Republican colleagues to stay firm and stick with what he is saying about not holding confirmation hearings. Ted Cruz, the only Republican member of the Senate left in contention for President, stands with Mitch McConnell on this issue.
Do you think what Mitch McConnell is doing is the right thing to do?
[Image via AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite]