New York Times (Editorial)
March 1, 2016
More than two weeks after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama has not named a nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Instead, he appears to be succumbing once again to his persistent belief that congressional Republicans can be reasoned with if only he tries hard enough.
One would have thought the years of disrespect and obstruction from Capitol Hill would have cured him of this notion. But on Tuesday morning, Mr. Obama met with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the two Republicans who are leading the charge to prevent him from selecting a replacement. Of course, nothing came of the brief meeting.
Mr. Grassley issued another insulting comment Monday, in response to a demand by Senator Harry Reid, the minority leader, that Republicans do their duty: “It doesn’t matter how much he jumps up and down and stomps his feet, we aren’t going to let the far left get away with denying the American people the opportunity to be heard.”
What does Mr. Obama think he will accomplish by talking to a brick wall?
Almost from the moment Justice Scalia died, top Senate Republicans have not only vowed that they will refuse to vote on any nominee Mr. Obama sends them, but also said they won’t even meet with that person.
Mr. McConnell has said that the nomination “will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the polls,” and that as long as he is in power “there will not be action taken.” Mr. Grassley initially said he would at least wait to see who the nominee is, but he soon fell back in line and said he would not allow any hearings.
Instead of wasting his time pretending to have conversations with these people, Mr. Obama should name a replacement for the vacancy — now. As President Ronald Reagan said in 1987, “every day that passes with the Supreme Court below full strength impairs the people’s business in that crucially important body.”
Luckily, Mr. Obama has many highly qualified candidates to choose from. Several have already been vetted and approved by Congress, like Sri Srinivasan, a federal appeals court judge for the District of Columbia Circuit whom the Senate confirmed in 2013 by a vote of 97 to 0. And Jane Kelly, another federal appeals court judge confirmed the same year by a vote of 96 to 0. During confirmation hearings for Judge Kelly, Mr. Grassley praised her “reputation for compassion and fairness.”
It is unclear what the president is waiting for. Surely the White House had a short list of candidates in hand long before Justice Scalia died.
Mr. McConnell has said repeatedly that the American people should have a voice in this nomination. Well, the people have spoken: They elected Mr. Obama twice. And in the past few weeks, multiple polls have found that more Americans want Mr. Obama to make the pick than want him to leave it to the next president. In a poll by Fox News, the split was 62 to 34 in favor of Mr. Obama. Republicans who like to point out that the American people rebuked the president in the 2014 midterm elections should remember that Mr. Obama’s job-approval rating in December was 46 percent, 35 points higher than the Senate’s.
By naming his pick now, Mr. Obama would force the Republicans to explain to Americans why they refuse to do their job and take a vote on a highly qualified nominee.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com