"Democrats remain furious over Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal last year to allow the Senate to consider Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat, an action with little precedent in U.S. history." (Reuters)
In reality, however, using the Senate to block Supreme Court nominees is common throughout our history as a nation. In recent memory, for instance, the Senate blocked President George W. Bush's nominee Miguel Estrada, an immigrant from Latin America who barely understood English upon arrival, but who worked his way up to serving under President Bill Clinton. Oh the irony: an immigrant from Latin America who even served under Democratic President Bill Clinton was blocked by Democrats in the Senate.
As President Bush came into power, dozens of nominees, including district and circuit courts nominees, were held up, blocked by the inaction of the Democratic-majority Senate.
- "Some of these nominees waiting for a simple up or down vote would fill court vacancies that have been designated 'judicial emergencies.' While these vacancies remain unfulfilled - unfilled - legal disputes are left unresolved, the backlog of cases grows larger, and the rule of law is delayed for millions of Americans." (President Bush's speech from the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, October 2008)
Even today, President Trump is up against "stiff opposition"
from Democrats in the Senate:
- "Trump's appointee to the lifetime post could face stiff opposition from Democrats in the Republican-led U.S. Senate, which must confirm nominees to the high court. Some liberal groups have urged Democrats to do everything possible to block Trump's nominee." (Reuters)
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) issued a statement accusing Republicans of stealing the seat from President Obama. Senator Merkley is referring to Senator Mitch McConnell's decision last year to block President Obama and fellow Democrats from appointing a Liberal before President Trump came into office. Senator Merkley said:
- "This is the seat that Mitch McConnell and team have stolen from President Obama. I won't be complicit in this theft ... We need to fight this Constitution-shredding gambit with everything we've got."
Politics is clearly a dirty game. It was immediately apparent to me what was taking place when Democrats suggested Obama's recess appointment to fill the seat once held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia be pushed through before the Senate recess. Although Senator Merkley insists that the decision to block President Obama's appointment was a "Constitution-shredding gambit," in reality, the Recess Appointments Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution was addressed during the NLRB v. Canning
case of 2014. The Supreme Court then ruled, from an unanimous 9-0 vote, that President Obama's recess appointments were wholly unconstitutional. At the time, however, the court did not fully agree on a reason why.
Justice Scalia cleared up the matter when he wrote that the president only has the power of recess appointments during the year-end recess. Moreover, Justice Scalia said that the power only applies to vacancies that occur during that specific year-end recess.
Fortunately for us, President Obama was never allowed to make a decision one way or the other. Instead, Senate-majority leader and Kentucky Senator McConnell skipped recess, taking the option off the table for President Obama, then blocked the former President's nominee altogether.
Although the nuclear option, wherein Senate Republicans would eliminate the possibility of a filibuster, is a viable option, Senate Majority-leader Mitch McConnell addressed both parties on the Senate floor, imploring Democrats to accept the validity of President Trump's win and give each nominee "careful consideration followed by an up or down vote" as opposed to a filibuster.
President Trump is expected to make another big announcement soon. It really doesn't matter who he appoints to different positions, Liberals will buck back regardless. President Trump has left little doubt that he'll stand his ground and stand up for the United States as well as the values that Americans have traditionally held tight.
Russell Allen is a conservative writer and researcher. He is the owner and editor of Conservative Articles, a Conservative news website with opinion articles as well as current-affairs. He's on Twitter as well as Facebook. He's lives in southern-Granville County, NC. Husband to one, father of three, and follower of Christ.