It was nearly nine months ago when we heard the news that Justice Antonio Scalia had passed away. With 11 months remaining in his term in office, President Obama wasted no time in attempting to replaced the respected, conservative justice. But Obama’s appointment was not meant to be. Now the person who thwarted that appointment has been vindicated.
The Daily Caller reminds us that soon after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement regarding his replacement.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
McConnell’s announcement was widely criticized by the left claiming that the President had the Constitutional right to appoint a replacement to the bench and that the Senate had a Constitutional duty to bring that nominee to the floor for a vote. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid responded stating that the failure to fill the vacancy “would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”
Despite political pressure from the White House and Congressional Democrats, McConnell held firm. And the outcome is significant.
“Had Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland been sitting on the court, the ruling [on Obama’s immigration executive order] would have been a five to four vote upholding the executive order. Instead, the four to four tie means the lower court’s ruling stands, and he could not move forward with his plan to grant legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants.”
President-elect Trump has already proposed a set of potential Supreme Court nominees, all of whom are considerably more conservative than Garland in their interpretation of the Constitution. No doubt, the appointment of Scalia’s replacement will be one of the first and most influential acts of our new President.