Sen. Tim Kaine held a chat the other day on Quora regarding Senate Republicans’ refusal to even meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, let alone to hold hearings and a vote on Garland’s nomination. A few of Sen. Kaine’s answers jumped out at me (including the one I included in the headline).
“What can we learn from the “Three No’s” Strategy adopted by Senate Republicans?” Sen. Kaine: “I’ve heard from many people in Virginia who say they believe the Senate will not do its job because of the identity of this particular President. The Senate has been willing to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominees for other Presidents, but there is clearly something about this particular President that would make the Senate break historical tradition and violate Article II.”
“Is there any constitutional requirement that the Senate must take action to confirm Merrick Garland?” Sen. Kaine: “Judge Garland was a real attempt by Obama to choose someone moderate — and even soneone older, who won’t stick around 40+ years. This is not Bork, who was qualified but extreme, and DID get a hearing and vote. It’s a clear demonstration that the Repiblicans now care about nothing but winning 100%, at the expense of the nation — and maybe even their own expense.”
“Why is it wrong for Republicans to obstruct Garland’s confirmation if they truly believe a liberal SCOTUS majority would have dire consequences?” Sen. Kaine: “Even Robert and Scalia himself have remarked that the nomination process is too political and should be more about qualifications not politics. The bitter fighting damages the reputation of our court, our government and our nation…I don’t have a lot of faith that Republicans will be able to rise above their damaging rhetoric and listen to reason, but perhaps [Chief Justice] Roberts himself can appeal to their senses and shame them into action.”
“If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t Democratic Senators be trying to block confirmation?” Sen. Kaine: “No. There is nothing unusual about filling a Supreme Court vacancy during the last year of a President’s term. On more than a dozen occasions, the Senate has held a vote on a Supreme Court nominee during the last year of a President’s term, under both Democratic and Republican Presidents.”