You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Republicans React to Scalia's Death by Abandoning the Text of the Constitution

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Cody Cain

The Republicans claim to hold nothing so near and dear as the Constitution of the United States.
They constantly remind us of this. We hear it over and over again. It's a big applause line in the stump speeches of just about every Republican candidate currently running for president. Well, maybe except for Donald Trump, that is. But Trump can be forgiven for failing to harp on the Constitution because he may not be aware of it.
The faithful of the Republican Party constantly boast of their superior devotion to the Constitution. And they baselessly accuse the Democrats, especially President Barack Obama, of failing to abide by the text of the Constitution.
Then came the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the hero of Republicans for claiming to so strictly follow the text of the Constitution. This suddenly opened-up a vacancy on the Supreme Court to be filled by President Obama. A Democrat. Horrors!
Immediately, the Republicans openly declared that the Republican-controlled Senate would refuse to so much as even consider any replacement nominees proposed by President Obama, regardless of who they might be, simply because this is the final year of Obama's presidential term.
In fact, perhaps the most stunning aspect of this was their candor. One would have expected these Republicans to lie and deceive by publicly proclaiming that they would indeed welcome any nominee, but then privately they would have intentionally dragged-out the process in order to prevent any nominee from actually being confirmed. Of course, this may turn out to be their Plan B.
But in their Plan A, the Republicans openly proclaimed that they would not even so much as consider any nominees whatsoever.
The only little problem with this position, of course, is that there is no constitutional basis for it.
The Constitution grants to the president the power to nominate justices to the Supreme Court, and with the "advice and consent" of the Senate, these nominees shall be appointed.
So the Constitution clearly provides that it is the President who possesses the power to fill this current vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The Senate's constitutional role of providing "advice and consent" is to consider the qualifications of the president's nominee, and then to either approve or reject the nominee based upon his or her qualifications.
But nowhere does the Constitution allow the Senate to flat-out refuse to consider nominees put forth by the President.
Furthermore, the power to change the number of justices on the Supreme Court requires an act of Congress, and thus the Senate is unable to accomplish this on its own. So if the Senate were to refuse to consider any nominees whatsoever, not only would this amount to the Senate failing to perform its constitutional duties, but this would also have the effect of the Senate improperly usurping the power unto itself to change the number of sitting justices from 9 to 8. Hardly constitutional.
In addition, the Constitution contains no provision that would allow the Senate to reject nominations that occur during the last year of a president's term, or to reject nominations whenever the Senate just so happens to be politically opposed to the sitting president.
Our Constitution simply does not work this way.
My goodness, for the Party that proclaims such faithful observance to the Constitution, the Republicans sure were quick to toss the Constitution right out the window.
(This essay is being jointly published with at this link.)

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon