By: Elise Viebeck, The Washington Post
February 14, 2016
Ted Cruz vowed Sunday to filibuster any nomination made by President Barack Obama to replace the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
“Absolutely,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if he would block any nominee named by Obama this year.
“This is a 5-4 court,” the Texas senator said. “This next election needs to be a referendum on the court. The people need to decide. I’m very glad that the Senate is agreeing with what I called for, that we should not allow a lame duck to essentially capture the Supreme Court in the waning months of his presidency.”
Cruz and presidential rival Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) have led the Republican field in calling for the Senate to refuse to consider a nominee to replace Scalia this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seemed to agree Saturday, saying in a statement that the vacancy should “not be filled until we have a new president.”
Cruz dismissed the notion that the Senate has an obligation to consider an Obama nominee since the presidential election is still about nine months away. “Not remotely,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Scalia’s unexpected death has upended the political debate and introduced a new dynamic into the 2016 Republican presidential primary, as candidates seek to convince voters that they should pick Scalia’s replacement.
Still, not every member of the Republican presidential field is adamant that the Senate should not consider an Obama nominee this year.
RINOTRACKER RESPONSE FROM CHRIS ADAMO:
Rather than merely reacting to the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the potentially disastrous consequences his untimely departure may portend for America, it is crucially important to assess how we got to such a detestable place. Only in this manner can we hope to properly navigate our way back to sanity and any assurance of the preservation of America.
Many conservatives are rightly expressing their alarm at the prospect that a single new Obama appointee on the court would most assuredly spell doom for the Constitution, and thus for the nation. But this appalling circumstance did not occur overnight. In conjunction with the relentless Democrat assault on traditional America that has ensued over the past several decades, a long chain of Republican betrayals and shameless pragmatism ultimately rendered the Democrat onslaught effective.
In far too many cases, the elitism and cronyism of Capitol Hill has supplanted honesty and the constitutional bedrock of the nation. Consequently, safeguards against abuses and tyranny, instituted by the founders in their wisdom and foresight, have been dangerously eroded. The modern “Ruling Class” finds it easy to offer empty, self-serving platitudes in lieu of worthy governing principles. And all too often, such indefensible behavior goes unquestioned, either by elected officials or even “conservative” talking heads.
Now, with no wiggle room left, America is forced to reckon with the possibility that the placement of a single individual on the High Court could make or break its future. This was not how our great nation was ever intended to operate.
Consider the current makeup of the court and the total dereliction of congressional oversight it represents. In each ensuing case heard by the court, analysts ponder how the five Republican appointees will weigh the merits. And their final decisions are never guaranteed one way or the other. Yet in any and every case involving a left/right political question, nobody doubts for a single moment that all four of the Clinton/Obama appointees will always take the liberal position. Such an unbroken track record renders them not “jurists,” and certainly not defenders of the Constitution, but unscrupulous and dangerously empowered political hacks.
In truth, the GOP has been in a position to prevent such desecration of our constitutional government. However, for purely self-serving political reasons, it has too often refused to do so. The original intent of the Senate confirmation process was as an indispensable component of the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” structure of government that would ensure no single branch could ever achieve uncontested power. From this perspective, no justice should ever be allowed to ascend to the high court without a proven track record of loyalty to the nation and its founding ideals.
Unfortunately, such noble principle was eventually supplanted by shallow platitudes that virtually guarantee a total corruption of the court. In recent decades Republicans, seeking to avoid controversy and media backlash, have ignored nominees’ prior episodes of flagrantly extra-constitutional adjudicating or the total lack of evidence of actual fidelity to the Constitution, and focused instead on legal credentials. Thus, the ability of a nominee to answer difficult questions of “jurisprudence” is accepted as proof of qualification, rather than any serious examination of the nominee’s past track record. Were the history of any Obama or Clinton nominee seriously included in the confirmation process, not a single one of them could be deemed fit to serve on any high federal court.
Yet the Republican Establishment has at its disposal another empty platitude by which to dodge this constitutional responsibility. At some point, morally bankrupt and rudderless political players began mouthing the empty platitude that “the president should be allowed his choice of nominees.” In their world, this is what passes for statesmanship. But in truth it embodies every despicable precept of an elitist “Ruling Class.” More ominously still, it undermines an essential check on the power of the presidency to morph the court into an unaccountable cornerstone of metastasizing tyranny.
Fortunately, Senator Ted Cruz (R.-TX) has promised to stand in unshakable opposition to the prospect of Barack Obama putting this final nail into the coffin of constitutional government. And given the consistency of Cruz’s past willingness to stand (alone if necessary) against the evil liberal tide, America can be confident that he will keep his word. Of less certainty is whether the Republican Senate majority, which from a purely constitutional perspective has the absolute authority to stop Obama’s evil plan dead in its tracks, will rise to the challenge and stand in the gap for America.
Phony liberal hysterics and raucous media backlash are absolutely inevitable. The Washington Post is already caterwauling that opposition to an Obama nominee might signal disaster for the GOP in November. And if recent history is any indicator, America can expect a brief token “opposition” effort from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Establishment, followed once again by total betrayal. Yet at this juncture, McConnell is to be credited for espousing the right principles. Perhaps it is overly optimistic to hope that he stays the course. On the other hand, if he does remain true to his words of the past few days, and is able to maintain solidarity among Senate Republicans, it would represent a glimmer of the principles which they were elected to uphold.
E-mail Christopher G. Adamo at: firstname.lastname@example.org