I discovered that in August 1960, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a resolution, S.RES. 334, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the president should not make recess appointments to the Supreme Court, except to prevent or end a breakdown in the administration of the Court’s business.” Each of President Eisenhower’s SCOTUS appointments had initially been a recess appointment who was later confirmed by the Senate, and the Democrats were apparently concerned that Ike would try to fill any last-minute vacancy that might arise with a recess appointment. Not surprisingly, the Republicans objected, insisting that the Court should have a full complement of Justices at all times. Of course, the partisan arguments will be exactly the opposite –David Bernstein
Barely an hour after the news broke Saturday of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made it clear that he has no intention of letting President Barack Obama replace the conservative icon.
“The American people? should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
Obama said he plans to name a nominee, but McConnell and other Republicans want to punt the issue to the next president because there’s a chance that person will be a Republican, in which case the GOP will get a lifetime appointee they actually want. If McConnell plans to spend the next year blocking every potential Supreme Court nominee that Obama puts forward, it would be a major break from tradition — since 1975, the average number of days from the nomination of a Supreme Court justice to a final Senate vote is 67, per a Congressional Research Service report.
It would also represent a break with McConnell’s personal history: In 1988, he voted to confirm a Supreme Court nominee when it was a Republican president’s final year in office – Jennifer Bendery
55 years is a long time and political memories are short. Obama is going to nominate someone, and the Senate is going to reject. The media, on both sides, will demagogue. Partisan rancor will get stronger, one side will win. And almost half of the country will get angrier.