During President Bush’s first term in office, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer did everything within their power to bottle up President Bush’s judicial nominees to the various courts. They filibustered President Bush’s nominees to the district courts, to the various appellate courts and especially to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Now that President Obama is set to nominate someone to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s spot of the Supreme Court, Sen. Reid and Sen. Schumer are insisting that the GOP Senate confirm President Obama’s eventual pick ASAP.
This morning, Sen. Reid wrote this op-ed, filling it with one dishonest statement after another. It’s ironic that Sen. Reid said that Republicans “gridlocked the Senate for years.” For 4 years, starting in January, 2011, House Republicans passed 350+ bills and sent them to Harry Reid’s Senate. The vast majority of those reform bills never got a committee hearing, much less a vote on the Senate floor.
For 4 years, Harry Reid essentially acted as a one-man pocket veto, sometimes to protect President Obama, sometimes to protect vulnerable Senate Democrats. The point is that Sen. Reid’s tactics were so ‘effective’ that the only meaningful pieces of legislation that the Senate voted on were omnibus spending bills that funded the government and bills that raised the debt limit so the government wouldn’t default.
This statement is particularly dishonest:
That is how our system works and has worked for more than 200 years. 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.
Sen. Reid knows that the Senate doesn’t have to give a president’s judicial nominee a hearing or an up-or-down vote. Sen. Reid knows this because he literally prevented dozens of judicial nominees from getting a confirmation hearing and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
Sen. Reid implies that President Obama will nominate a justice who will uphold a person’s right to keep and bear arms. It’s foolish to think that the most left wing radical president in recent history will nominate a centrist judge. Sen. Reid implies that President Obama’s nominee wouldn’t obliterate the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that said political speech is the most protected type of speech. President Obama’s nominee certainly would get rid of the Citizens United ruling as soon as the Supreme Court had the opportunity.
When the Supreme Court has been filled with liberal justices, they’ve ruled in favor of a more intrusive government, more limitless regulations and against civil rights like the right to keep and bear arms. In the past, they’ve even ruled on things that the Constitution doesn’t give them the authority to rule on.
The Senate shouldn’t confirm any nominee that isn’t a textualist or an originalist like Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia didn’t want his replacement to immediately start undoing the work he did over the last 30 years. Justice Scalia is irreplaceable. That doesn’t mean, however, that his replacement shouldn’t share his judicial philosophy.
Sen. Reid, Sen. Schumer, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Warren should spare us the sanctimony about the Senate’s responsibilities. They’ve each ignored those alleged responsibilities multiple times.
Finally, voters need to ask themselves if they want the Supreme Court to overturn important parts of the First and Second Amendment. If they want their civil rights to be maintained, then they need to elect a president who thinks that the Constitution should be interpreted literally.