After President Obama's nomination of D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to Justice Antonin Scalia's vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans remained steadfastly devoted to principle -- the principle that the American people should be given the opportunity to speak on the future of the Supreme Court through the election in November. Republican Senators have made it clear for the past month that they will refuse to hold hearing on any nominee because as Sen. Mitch McConnell said, this is "about a principle, not a person."
Sen. Chuck Grassley continued his strong leadership in his statement about the nomination:
Co-equal authorities are throughout the Constitution, including Article II, Section 2, where the power to nominate an individual to the Supreme Court is granted to the President and authority is given to the Senate to provide advice and consent. Nowhere in the Constitution does it describe how the Senate should either provide its consent or withhold its consent.
Today the President has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests. As Vice President Biden previously said, it’s a political cauldron to avoid. . . .
A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice. Do we want a court that interprets the law, or do we want a court that acts as an unelected super legislature? This year is a tremendous opportunity for our country to have a sincere and honest debate about the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system of government.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte emphasized the significance of the next Supreme Court justice, which is why the people should be allowed to speak on the issue:
Empowered with a lifetime appointment, the next Supreme Court justice will likely have a significant impact on the court and the people of our country for years. In the midst of a presidential election and a consequential debate about the future of our country, I believe the American people deserve to have a voice in the direction of the court. I continue to believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the people have spoken by electing a new president.
Sen. Pat Toomey echoed the importance of the people's voice:
With the U.S. Supreme Court's balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice.
Sen. David Vitter said:
Rather than have an insider’s political tug-of-war between the President and the Senate over a Supreme Court nomination, the American people should decide through this year’s election. So I'll be doing everything I can to give the American people a voice . . . . The President is well within his constitutional authority to name a nominee – and the Senate is well within our constitutional authority to not hold hearings or a vote. President Obama has less than a year left, but a Supreme Court Justice will impact our country for decades, and this is something we shouldn’t take lightly.
Sen. John Cornyn agreed:
While the President has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill this vacancy, the Senate also has the authority and responsibility to determine how to move forward with it.
The next justice could change the ideological makeup of the Court for a generation, and fundamentally reshape American society in the process.
At this critical juncture in our nation's history, Texans and the American people deserve to have a say in the selection of the next lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
The only way to empower the American people and ensure they have a voice is for the next President to make the nomination to fill this vacancy.
The RNLA thanks Republican Senators for their leadership in allowing the American people to have a voice on the future of the Supreme Court before it becomes the most liberal Court in decades.