Conservative activists are getting a message across to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that securing a fellow conservative to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court is even more important than keeping a GOP majority in the Senate. At risk is the threat of bottlenecks to be introduced by the Democrats who have vowed that President Obama has the “right” to nominate a replacement and that the Congressional “advise and consent” clause in the Constitution is but a secondary concern.
Among those arguing for the necessity of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court is David Bozell of For America, a conservative advocacy group. He said that the advance of the conservative cause is largely due to Supreme Court decisions. "God knows this Republican majority in the Senate hasn’t done much anyway for conservatism, period,” Bozell told The Hill. “If you look at some of the conservative movement’s successes, it’s in large part due to the court doing some decent things and making some good decisions."
“The Senate is not going to determine whether or not we have Second Amendment rights, the Supreme Court is. The Senate is not going to determine marriage, the Supreme Court did. The Supreme Court, not the Senate, determined abortion,” said Mike Farris, who chairs the Home School Legal Defense Association.
Democrats are turning up the heat. Among them is Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that said that if Republicans do not hold hearings on Obama’s nominee, they will be remembered as the “most nakedly obstructionist and irresponsible majority in history.” Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have also chimed in.
Newspaper editorials are drumming the same tune. For example, the Concord Monitor wrote that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) was “wrong” to support McConnell “in knee-jerk fashion” in calling for a year-long postponement of confirmation hearings. “Voters should consider such a refusal to perform their sworn constitutional responsibility to advise and consent, not merely obstruct, a disqualification for future Senate office,” the paper wrote. Ayotte is considered to be vulnerable in her re-election bid. And in Pennsylvania, the Scranton-Times Tribune issued an editorial saying that Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) support for McConnell amounts to “naked obstruction” and that he “should desist.”
Some Republicans are showing signs of wavering. For example, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has warned that Republicans may “fall into the trap of being obstructionists.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is also facing reelection, told the media last week that Obama should get a fair shot at a nomination but has since recanted.
GOP strategists are concerned that by holding hearings on a nominee, a floor vote would be next. However, it is not likely that Democrats can get together the necessary 14 votes to overcome a filibuster.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council recently wrote:
“No man — not even the president itself — may hold as much sway over the future of our nation than the next Supreme Court justice. The far-Left is already salivating over the prospect of an extreme Supreme Court justice to finish the work the Court started when it redefined marriage. In a sobering Washington Post article, reporters explain that the LGBT movement is on the march for more — including the right to punish anyone with contradicting views through a sweeping nationwide ruling for special same-sex and transgender protections in the workplace.”
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