In a meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Republican leaders from the U.S. Senate said that they would not hold hearings to consider Obama’s pick for a Supreme Court vacancy, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told reporters.
“They were willing to meet with the president. It looks like they could at least meet with the president’s nominee, which should be coming very quickly,” Reid said after the Oval Office meeting.
In order to maintain the Republican view of the constitution, meaning upholding the belief that “a judge’s task is limited — to discover what that meaning is, not to make it up,” Cruz argued that judges need to practice more restraint.
Problem was brewing for some time
Prior to Scalia’s passing, the possibility of Supreme Court vacancies was already a defining issue on the campaign trail, but in the wake of his death candidates have fought over whether Obama should fill chose his successor. In the hopes of creating a more conservative court, Cruz cited historical precedent suggesting that the seat should remain vacant until the next president is sworn in.
“Do the American people want a justice who adheres to the unchanging text, history and structure of the Constitution, or do they want a justice who thinks the Constitution should evolve with the personal beliefs of unelected lawyers?” Cruz asked. “Voters deserve the opportunity to speak on this subject through the next president.”
In kicking off the Senate’s debate on the issue Monday, Democratic leader Harry Reid accused his Republican colleagues of “an unprecedented attempt to hold hostage an entire branch of government.” McConnell and his conference can expect more of the same in the coming weeks—and worse once Obama actually announces his nominee.
But McConnell is accustomed to the heat and, not facing reelection himself for another four years, more than willing to take the brunt of this attack for his conference.
Question if you must the majority leader’s ethics, ideology, or even the manner and countenance that have earned him the nickname “The Turtle.” But do not doubt the man’s political savvy. McConnell knows how the game is played, and he recognizes the best of a bad batch of options when he sees it.