President Obama is set to announce his replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during a Rose Garden ceremony this morning and we already know the two liberal candidate being considered to replace the conservative icon!
Obama has narrowed is selection to two federal appeals judges, Sri Srinivasan and Merrick Garland. Srinivasan would be the first Asian-American on the high court and the first Hindu.
Srinivasan has the advantage of having previously been unanimously confirmed by the Senate, which gives Obama the ability to cry foul on Republican leaders’ refusal to consider his nominee, even though they have already signed off on his judicial credentials.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dug in his heels within hours of late justice Antonin Scalia’s death last month, saying the American people should have a say in choosing the next justice through the presidential election process. Democrats have strongly objected, and said Republicans’ refusal is further evidence that they have long questioned Obama’s legitimacy as president.
Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, backed up Senate Republicans on Wednesday morning, saying they shouldn’t give Obama’s pick a hearing.
“I don’t think so, no I think they should do what they’re doing,” Trump said on “Good Morning America” Wednesday.” “I think they should wait until the next president and let the next president pick.”
Obama alluded to the looming battle with the Senate in his email on Wednesday.
“I’m confident you’ll share my conviction that this American is not only eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote,” Obama said. “In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders.”
Obama laid out three principles that he said guided his choice.
First, that a justice “should possess an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law.”
Second, that he or she “should recognize the limits of the judiciary’s role.”
And third, that his choice have “a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.”
“It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom,” he elaborated, “experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly-changing times.”
To replace the late Antonin Scalia on the bench, Obama will need to convince at least 14 Republican senators to join Democrats to break an inevitable filibuster and at least five Republican senators to vote with Democrats for confirmation — but first somehow convince McConnell to back off from his absolutist position against even giving the nominee a hearing.
So far, there are few signs that the Republican stand against any action on an Obama nominee is likely to crack. All 11 GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signed what amounts to a written pledge that no nominee will be granted a hearing until after a new president is sworn in next January.
The White House is hoping to create some movement by this summer, but many expect that this battle will go all the way through November, with Democrats threatening to turn it into a major political issue in all five states with vulnerable Senate Republican incumbents. They also hope to expand the 2016 battleground to more states with an argument about GOP obstruction, which they’re aiming to tie to Donald Trump’s rise as the likely Republican presidential nominee.
Democrats feel that in addition to their own base, support is high among independents for Obama going through the normal process of replacing a justice on the Supreme Court, as recent polls show. But Republicans are equally confident in their firm position, especially since filling Scalia’s seat with an Obama nominee would change the ideological balance of the court for a generation.
Should Senate Republicans even consider Obama’s pick to replace Scalia? Let us know in the comments section below!