Justice Antonio Scalia’s unexpected death last week is sure to cause a headache for President Obama. When Senator Harry Reid of Nevada retires later this year, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York will replace him as the Senate’s Democratic leader. Back in 2007, Schumer suggested that Supreme Court nominations be blocked during a president’s last 18 months in office.
Senator Schumer made his famous suggestion to an audience in 2007 during President George W. Bush’s second term. The Dems had retaken the Senate the previous year and Bush had already made two nominations to the Supreme Court – Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Schumer announced that he wanted to block further nominations during a speech to the left-wing American Constitution Society (ACS). “How do we apply the lessons we learned from Roberts and Alito to the next nominee, especially if – God forbid – there is another vacancy under this president?” Schumer asked.
“For the rest of this president’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito. Given the track record of this president and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings – with respect to the Supreme Court, at least – I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances.”
No word yet from the New York Senator about why it is okay for the Dems to not act on a GOP nomination to the Court for 18 months, but unconstitutional for Republicans to not act on a nomination from the left for 11 months…
Justice Antonio Scalia had been the longest standing member of the Supreme Court, having been nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1986. While Obama seeks to fill the position, many have doubts that he will be able to do so during the “lame duck” period of his presidency. If a liberal Justice takes Scalia’s place, the Supreme Court will likely be lopsided for years to come.