I have been privileged to receive another fund raising e-mail from none other than James Carville.
Friend, if there’s one thing Republicans love yammering about (besides building walls and banning Muslims), it’s the Constitution.
But this Supreme Court drama tells me they could use a refresher. So here goes:
- A president’s term lasts FOUR years, even if their name is Barack Obama
- The president fills Supreme Court vacancies, even if they’re a Democrat
- The Senate confirms nominees, even if they’d rather cross their fingers for President Cruz, Trump, or Rubio
Mitch McConnell may think obstructing is his job, but holding a branch of government hostage to obstruct President Obama and demoralize Democrats is not just unprecedented — it’s unacceptable.
And boy, will he be upset when he sees how FIRED UP he’s made Democrats about demoting him and putting REAL leaders back in charge!
Friend, if you didn’t do your job, you’d be fired. McConnell and company work for US — and this latest charade is the last straw if you ask me. But unless we help the DSCC get the word out and hold Republicans accountable, we’ll be stuck with these guys for years!
That’s where you come in, Friend. Please pitch in (and get your gift MATCHED) to help the DSCC kick this sorry GOP majority to the curb!
Well, one party, at least, has to yammer about following the constitution, enforcing federal immigration laws, and protecting the country against its enemies. The Democrats don’t seem to care about talking or doing any of that. I just wish the Republicans actually followed up their yammering with action.
I think that it is Mr. Carville and the Democrats who badly need a refresher on how Supreme Court vacancies are filled. Here is the relevant section of the constitution.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
Note the words in bold, the advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate does not automatically confirm the Supreme Court justices, or any other of the offices mentioned. Here is the way it goes.
- The President nominates a person to fill a vacancy.
- The Senate decides whether of not that person is suitable for the office and votes to confirm or deny the President’s nominee.
I think that the Republicans in the Senate are making a tactical mistake by saying that they will not even consider anyone nominated by President Obama. They ought to at least go through the motions of holding a hearing, even if they believe that any person nominated by Obama is unacceptable. But, if the Senate wants to delay the proceedings until after the upcoming presidential election, they can do it. In fact, I think it would be better if Obama waited until after the election to nominate anyone to fill Scalia’s seat in order to spare the country the political drama and posturing that will inevitably occur during an election.
The Democrats seem to have this curious idea that the job of the Legislative Branch is to rubberstamp everything the president proposes, at least when the president is a Democrat and Congress is controlled by the Republicans. If a Republican Congress declines to support the president’s legislation, or even passes legislation that the president doesn’t like, they aren’t doing their job and are being obstructionist. Naturally when the situation is reversed, with a Republican president and Democratic Congress, obstructing the president’s “extreme” agenda is a vital necessity.
In fact, Mitch McConnell is doing his job by obstructing the president. That is what Congress is supposed to do. The framers of the constitution did not want an efficient government that could act quickly. That leads, all too easily, to tyranny or bad policies. They wanted a government that acted slowly and deliberately and they wanted to ensure that no one person or faction could dominate the government and force their policies on the country. They wanted laws to be passed only when there was a broad consensus that the change was needed and only after compromise had made the legislation acceptable to everyone. What we call gridlock, they called checks and balances and did not want the government to act, even if the president is named Barack Obama and is the lightworker trying to bring about fundamental change.
If the president does not want the Senate Republicans to obstruct him, he could perhaps consult with them before he makes any nomination and try to find someone acceptable to both sides. For their part, the Senate Republicans could seriously consider any nominee. But this would require a spirit of compromise which Obama hasn’t shown much sign of having for the past seven years of his presidency and isn’t likely to develop now.