Sen. Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, argues persuasively today in the New York Times that the Senate should wait until after the November 2016 election to allow the people to decide who fills the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the passing of Justice Scalia:
Given that the American people have elected a president and a Senate majority with drastically different views on the nature of legitimate constitutional government — a split decision of sorts — it seems appropriate to let 2016 voters decide which of two very different paths the Supreme Court should take.
But the American people can influence that course only if the Senate holds confirmation proceedings after the election season has ended. This should not be a controversial position.
After all, both Republican and Democratic leaders, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., have argued in the past that the Senate should defer consideration of life-tenured judges until after presidential election cycles.
Throughout its history, the Senate has never confirmed a nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that occurred this late in a term-limited president’s time in office. Considering a nominee now — in the middle of the nastiest election campaign in recent memory — could damage the judicial confirmation process beyond repair.
. . . Democrats have no credibility in lecturing Republicans on how to conduct the current confirmation process. Their recent actions only validate the rationale for waiting. From personal attacks on Republican committee chairmen to coordinated disruptions by professional activists, liberal pressure tactics belie any commitment to keeping politics out of the confirmation process.
Considering a nominee in the midst of a toxic presidential election would be irresponsible. Doing so would only further inject a circus atmosphere into an already politicized confirmation process. Conducting a thoughtful and substantive deliberation after the election is in the best interests of the Senate, the judiciary and the country.
The RNLA fully agrees with Sen. Hatch and stands with him and other Republican Senators as they refuse to hold hearings or vote on President Obama's nomination of Judge Garland to Justice Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court.