WASHINGTON, March 2, 2016 – Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says that President Obama will soon announce his nominee to replace former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Scalia passed away on February 13. Senator Reid said it was the Senate’s duty to conduct a confirmation process on a nomination.
Reid remained silent as to who the nominee might be. But Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reaffirmed his earlier statement that the Senate will ignore any Supreme Court nomination submitted by Obama and will wait until 2017 to take up the issue once a new president takes office.
Reid’s comments came a day after President Obama met with Reid, McConnell and other key senators at the White House to discuss who the next Supreme Court justice should be. Following the meeting with President Obama, both Senators Reid and Leahy quicky attacked their Republican colleagues before of a string of cameras and reporters waiting outside the White House West Wing.
Reid described the meeting as brief, suggesting that the Republicans would not budge from their decision to ignore any Supreme Court nomination President Obama makes in coming weeks. “They think they are going to wait and see what President Trump will do, I guess, as far as the nomination is concerned,” Reid said, referring to Donald Trump, the current Republican presidential front-runner. Reid said the President asked for names of potential nominees and said he would look at those names as he considers who his final nominee will be.
The Republican leadership argues that the voters should be able to weigh in on Scalia’s successor by their choice of the nation’s next president. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Obama had no expectations prior to the meeting that he could change Republicans’ minds. He said the president regarded the meeting as “pretty straightforward,” but that he didn’t expect that the Republicans were “going to change their minds just because I said so.”
The meeting was planned so both sides could offer their case for nominating or not nominating a replacement Justice for the Supreme Court. Obama claims to agree with former President Reagan’s comments when two of his Supreme Court nominees failed to gain confirmation by the Senate. “Every day that passes with the Supreme Court below full strength impairs the people’s business in that crucially important body,” Reagan said at the time.
Ironically, on the other hand, Republicans support remarks made by Vice President Biden in 1992 when he was a U.S. Senator. Biden said that “President [George H.W.] Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not — and not — name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”
*Cartoon by Branco. Reprinted by arrangement and with permission of LegalInsurrection.