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On Obama Nominee, It’s No or Never


There have been times over the last year and a half where voters probably wondered what they’d gotten out of a Republican Senate. This week, they know the answer: reassurance that GOP leaders won’t allow a lame-duck president to stack the Court with liberal jurists. After taking some well-deserved flak for not using his majority more, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may have just chosen the most important moment to do so.

“I have many faults,” the Kentucky leader told reporters, “but getting off message is not one of them. In short, there will be no action taken.” To most Americans, who can’t stand the thought of another lifetime guardian of Obama’s legacy, this is the best return on their 2014 investment yet. It’s this same unflinching resolve that voters hoped they’d be getting when they handed Republicans the keys to both chambers two years ago. Now, those elections do have consequences — serious ones, for an administration desperate to have a permanent ideological grip on the court.

For McConnell, colleagues say, the quick decision to draw a line after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was an unusual one. Instead of deliberating with others, the Senate Majority Leader dug in almost immediately, insisting there would be no hearing or vote for Scalia’s replacement. McConnell knew the urgency of the moment and seized it. Naturally, Democrats pitched a fit — knowing the Republicans’ stand would devastate their radical agenda if they stuck to it. For once, the president — who’s built a bypass around Congress bigger than the D.C. Beltway — needs the Senate. If he could appoint a Supreme Court justice by executive order, he would.

Now, at the mercy of a Senate he’s so often spurned, it’s no wonder he’s talking about “rising above ideology and partisanship” (two things he’s never managed himself). Democrats have exhausted their lawless options. Their only hope is that Republicans will forget the last seven years, their statements advocating the GOP’s same position, and their own decision to blow up Senate precedent with the nuclear option. Yet, Obama is calling for “regular order and regular processes” (the same ones he shunned in 2005) — not because he respects them, but because it’s one of the few times he’s had any use for them. That phony allegiance to precedent is tough for anyone to swallow now.

As Charles Krauthammer wrote, “[These are demands] for deference from a party that for seven years has cheered Obama’s serial constitutional depredations… Minority Leader Harry Reid complains about the Senate violating precedent if it refuses a lame-duck nominee. This is rich. It is Reid who just two years ago overthrew all precedent by abolishing the filibuster for most judicial and high executive appointments!” Liberals never hesitated to use their power — or misuse it — to achieve their ends. In this, the Senate GOP is well within their rights to withhold their consent. If the president wants to nominate a replacement for Scalia, the Constitution grants him the authority. But the same document also stands behind Senator McConnell’s decision to ignore it — which he’s determined to do.

Asked last night if he’d back down, the Kentucky leader didn’t flinch. “There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that’s gonna happen.” Republicans have risen to the challenge. It’s time for voters to do the same and give them a president worthy to make the decision they’ve postponed. For more on the GOP’s position, as well as Joe Biden’s own statements in support of it, check out my interview with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on last night’s “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” Also, the dynamic duo of Ken Klukoswki and FRC’s Ken Blackwell are back with a great new Breitbart column, “Antonin Scalia’s Wisdom on Faith and American Success.”


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