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The Supreme Court Battles Poised to Begin


The courts may have been a sleepy issue this time last week, but it’s got the country’s attention now. Last week, as I spoke to activists in South Carolina about the importance of the judicial branch in this presidential election, there was positive — but clearly intellectual — response. Now, in the six days since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Americans are getting a front row seat to what may be the most intense congressional showdown in a generation: his replacement.

In record time, both sides are shuffling the deck on their campaign priorities and redrawing the battle lines for a spring dominated by the Court. While Justice Scalia lies in repose in the great hall, advocacy machines have already “roared to life,” the New York Times acknowledged, pointing to FRC as one of the conservative groups gearing up to protect the constitutionalist’s legacy. On Tuesday, the White House rallied its closest allies on a conference call, where the president readied his troops for a nomination that would tighten the Left’s grip on the Court after he’s gone.

And while Democrats were eager to carry out his marching orders, the White House will have a tough time making its case to the American people — who remember President Obama’s own filibuster over Justice Samuel Alito. To them, it seems more than a little hypocritical that the White House would demand a quick hearing and vote, seeing as he failed to give that same courtesy to his predecessor. “He regrets the vote that he made,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, trying tamp down critics. “Frankly,” he went on, “looking back on it, the president believes that he should have just followed his own advice and made a strong public case on the merits about his opposition to the nomination that President Bush had put forward.”

It’s a convenient apology for a man desperate to protect his unconstitutional legacy. Now that the tables are turned, President Obama suddenly regrets his now-ironic 2006 insistence that the court needed to “provide some check on the executive branch, and [Alito] has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly.” Years later, the president is in the market for a different kind of justice: one who will guard his two terms of lawlessness for as long as the lifetime appointment allows. No wonder GOP leaders are digging in their heels. After eight years of President Obama ignoring the law, the last thing America needs is a justice who does the same.

That’s why senators across the Republican spectrum welcome the president’s nomination — but make no bones about discarding it. “President Obama insists that he will nominate someone for the Court,” Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said. “He certainly has the authority to do so. But let’s be clear: his nominee will be rejected by the Senate.” Other senators in tight races this fall agree. With the polling on the president’s next move split down the middle (43 percent think the Senate should confirm; 42 percent disagree), the GOP is staking out a clear position.

And groups like Judicial Crisis Network are ready to back them on it. With a multi-million dollar campaign, “Let the People Decide,” launching this week, the group is going to bat for the senators determined to give voters a voice in the next justice. “In this first phase, we want to thank the U.S. Senators who say that the American people should decide who picks the next Supreme Court justice.

The American people are fed up with Washington politicians, and the selection of the next justice is simply too important to leave to politics as usual. Give the people a voice. Let them decide in November what kind of Court they want.” So far, the ads have been tailored to some of the more vulnerable seats: Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), John McCain (Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

You, on the other hand, don’t have to spend seven digits to have an impact! Take advantage of Congress’s time at home this week by calling them and encouraging them to leave the decision in the next president’s hands.


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