Senator Schumer conveniently evolves on appointing Supreme Court justices
After expressing sorrow at the sudden death of conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, speculation immediately turned to his successor and whether lame duck President Obama (D), with less than a year remaining in his final term as president, has the right to appoint one.
According to Harvard Law School graduate Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the answer is yes. Uh, no. Well, it actually depends when you asked him. In the summer of 2007, when President George W. Bush (R) had a year and a half remaining in his final term as president, Schumer authoritatively stated to the liberal-leaning American Constitution Society:
We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances. They must prove (applause) by actions not words that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not.
And ending with this promise:
I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally (referring to justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, nominated by Bush and ultimately confirmed. ECF) on the court.
The American Constitution Society applauded him again.
Flash forward eight and a half years to Sunday, when Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), perhaps inspired by, or remembering Schumer's, and others', past similar statements, announced:
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.
"Obstructionism," Schumer protested Sunday on ABC's This Week.
You know, the kind of obstructionism that Mitch McConnell's talking about, he's harkening back to his old days. You know, he recently he said, 'Well, I want regular order,' (snip)
"But in 2010, right after the election or right during the election, he said, 'My number-one job is to defeat Barack Obama,' without even knowing what Barack Obama was going to propose. Here, he doesn’t even know who the president's going to propose and he said, 'No, we're not having hearings; we're not going to go forward to leave the Supreme Court vacant at 300 days in a divided time,' " he said.
Schumer said that kind of strategy "isn't going to last," adding that the American people don't like obstruction.
He added that he thinks the president will nominate someone who is "mainstream."
"I believe that many of the mainstream Republicans, when the president nominates a mainstream nominee, will not want to follow Mitch McConnell over the cliff," he said.
"When you go right off the bat and say, 'I don't care who he nominates, I am going to oppose him,' that's not going to fly," he said.
If obstruction flew in 2007 it can still fly today. It is so mainstream.
And may Justice Scalia rest in peace.