Will the GOP Finally Hold Fast?

The unexpected death of Justice Anthony Scalia signals yet another contentious nomination process for the now vacant position on the Supreme Court.  So batten down the hatches – yet another heaping helping of sanctimony from the Democrats and news media is heading our way. 

President Obama will put forward a nominee to join the hard-left Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan he placed on the court earlier.  Democrats will claim that the president has a right to quick action from the Senate and bemoan the outrageous efforts of the majority party to politicize the nomination process.

However, when Democrats controlled the Senate, they invariably voted as a bloc to destroy the nominees presented by Republican presidents.  They rejected Nixon nominees Clement Haynsworth and Harrold Carswell, along with Ronald Reagan’s choice Robert Bork.  And of course they launched vicious campaigns in an effort to sidetrack Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. 

The 1992 nomination of Justice John Roberts to a Court of Appeals position languished without action by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee for a year until President George H.W. Bush left office and Roberts returned to private practice.  In May of 2001, George W. Bush nominated Roberts again, but Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy refused to give him a hearing during the 107th Congress, which ended in January of 2003.  Forcing long delays, sometimes years, in the consideration of Republican candidates for the federal bench is the stock in trade for the Democrat-controlled Senate.

In 2013, Senate Leader Harry Reid turned up the heat even further when he unilaterally discarded decades of precedent by changing longstanding Senate rules that required 60 votes to advance President Obama’s nominations to the federal bench.  This so-called “Nuclear Option” allowed the Democrats to force through scores of Obama administration nominees to the federal bench with a simple majority vote.  Reid also changed rules to prevent Republicans from adding amendments and limited debate on proposed legislation.

And why shouldn’t such tactics be employed?  The Democrat brand of hardball has paid off with a remarkable string of victories as one GOP president after another has sought to avoid conflict by nominating candidates who have proven to be among the most liberal in Supreme Court history.

When Haynsworth and Carswell were rejected, President Nixon saw the light and gave us Harry Blackmun and Louis Powell – both of whom soon voted to legalize abortion in the notorious Roe v. Wade decision.

Gerald Ford added leftist John Paul Stevens, Reagan moderates Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, George H.W. Bush David Souter, and George W. John Roberts – whose vote was pivotal in allowing the huge expansion of government with Obamacare.

Seldom has the Senate considered Supreme Court nominations during a presidential election year, and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to leave this decision to the next president.  Whether or not McConnell has the resolve to stand by his word remains to be seen. 

The unexpected death of Justice Anthony Scalia signals yet another contentious nomination process for the now vacant position on the Supreme Court.  So batten down the hatches – yet another heaping helping of sanctimony from the Democrats and news media is heading our way. 

President Obama will put forward a nominee to join the hard-left Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan he placed on the court earlier.  Democrats will claim that the president has a right to quick action from the Senate and bemoan the outrageous efforts of the majority party to politicize the nomination process.

However, when Democrats controlled the Senate, they invariably voted as a bloc to destroy the nominees presented by Republican presidents.  They rejected Nixon nominees Clement Haynsworth and Harrold Carswell, along with Ronald Reagan’s choice Robert Bork.  And of course they launched vicious campaigns in an effort to sidetrack Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. 

The 1992 nomination of Justice John Roberts to a Court of Appeals position languished without action by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee for a year until President George H.W. Bush left office and Roberts returned to private practice.  In May of 2001, George W. Bush nominated Roberts again, but Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy refused to give him a hearing during the 107th Congress, which ended in January of 2003.  Forcing long delays, sometimes years, in the consideration of Republican candidates for the federal bench is the stock in trade for the Democrat-controlled Senate.

In 2013, Senate Leader Harry Reid turned up the heat even further when he unilaterally discarded decades of precedent by changing longstanding Senate rules that required 60 votes to advance President Obama’s nominations to the federal bench.  This so-called “Nuclear Option” allowed the Democrats to force through scores of Obama administration nominees to the federal bench with a simple majority vote.  Reid also changed rules to prevent Republicans from adding amendments and limited debate on proposed legislation.

And why shouldn’t such tactics be employed?  The Democrat brand of hardball has paid off with a remarkable string of victories as one GOP president after another has sought to avoid conflict by nominating candidates who have proven to be among the most liberal in Supreme Court history.

When Haynsworth and Carswell were rejected, President Nixon saw the light and gave us Harry Blackmun and Louis Powell – both of whom soon voted to legalize abortion in the notorious Roe v. Wade decision.

Gerald Ford added leftist John Paul Stevens, Reagan moderates Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, George H.W. Bush David Souter, and George W. John Roberts – whose vote was pivotal in allowing the huge expansion of government with Obamacare.

Seldom has the Senate considered Supreme Court nominations during a presidential election year, and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to leave this decision to the next president.  Whether or not McConnell has the resolve to stand by his word remains to be seen.