Many newspapers like to give their readers a full menu of commentary, often printing adjacent pro and con op-eds on a given topic.
Today the Las Vegas newspaper devoted its entire op-ed page to essentially a pro-pro stance.
The paper reprinted an op-ed by Sen. Harry Reid that first appeared Monday in The Washington Post as well as a column by Steve Sebelius taking an identical stance, fulminating over Republicans threatening to block any Obama nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
They both attacked Sen. Mitch McConnell and all the Republican presidential candidates who said the replacement for Scalia should be named by whomever is elected president in November.
Sebelius fumed, “For the record, anyone in federal elected office who advises ignoring a presidential nomination or rejecting a nominee before that person’s name is even announced is simply unfit to hold office.”
Reid ranted, “Pursuing their radical strategy in a quixotic quest to deny the basic fact that the American people elected President Obama — twice — would rank among the most rash and reckless actions in the history of the Senate. And the consequences will reverberate for decades.”
The senator also claimed, “Until now, even through all the partisan battles of recent decades, the Senate’s constitutional duty to give a fair and timely hearing and a floor vote to the president’s Supreme Court nominees has remained inviolable. This Republican Senate would be the first in history to abdicate that vital duty.”
Pay no heed to his role in filibustering the nominations of both Samuel Alito and John Roberts for purely partisan reasons.
He also seems to have forgotten the speech by Chuck Schumer in 2007, late in George W. Bush’s second term, in which he said:
“For the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito. Given the track record of this President and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings, with respect to the Supreme Court, at least: I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances.”
Both of today’s op-eds pounded on the Senate’s constitutional duty to provide advice and consent for Supreme Court appointees. There is no criteria spelled out for refusing to consent.
Both Obama and Reid stated of Roberts that he was not adequately committed to discrimination of the basis of race and gender — or was they euphemistically call it, affirmation action.
Reid said of memos written by Roberts, “But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens.”
Obama said of Roberts on the floor of the Senate, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge. He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view.”
But then he said he opposed Roberts because of his lack of agreement with him on matters of affirmative action:
“I want to take Judge Roberts at his word that he doesn’t like bullies and he sees the law and the court as a means of evening the playing field between the strong and the weak. But given the gravity of the position to which he will undoubtedly ascend and the gravity of the decisions in which he will undoubtedly participate during his tenure on the court, I ultimately have to give more weight to his deeds and the overarching political philosophy that he appears to have shared with those in power than to the assuring words that he provided me in our meeting.”
Of Justice Alito, Obama said he was eminently qualified for the job but he was supporting a filibuster of his nomination “because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know.”
Obama also said back then that “there are some who believe that the president, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the justice is intellectually capable … I disagree with this view.”
How dare any Republican disagree with this view.
It is all about partisanship and rewriting the Constitution to fit their political solutions, not the least bit about constitutional duties.
Chuck Schumer in 2007:
Obama admits appointments are purely political:
He uses the everybody does it excuse.