CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer called out the hypocrisy of Democrats who are demanding that Senate Republicans hold hearings and a vote for President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It came during an interview with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Wednesday:
Blitzer: When President Obama was a U.S. Senator, Congresswoman, as you know, back in 2006, he filibustered the nominee Samuel Alito, who’s now the Justice Samuel Alito, something he now says he regrets. And when Vice President Biden was a U.S. Senator back in 1992, he said President Bush, and I’m quoting him now, ‘should consider following the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.’
So if it was good for the Democrats then to make these kinds of statements during an election year in the case of Biden, why can’t the Republicans do that now?
Wasserman Schultz: Well, let’s be clear, when Barack Obama was filibustering, he had that opportunity because there was a nominee that was being given a hearing. So, I mean, they have the perfect right to filibuster, to debate it, to do anything they want, while letting the process unfold. But to suggest that they aren’t even to going to grant courtesy meetings to his nominee, to not have hearings, to not take this nominee through the process, vote the President’s nominee down if that’s what they choose to do.
After mentioning that there were some Republicans who thought there should be hearings, Wasserman Schultz then talked about the constitutionality of what Senate Republicans are doing:
For a party that has a whole bunch of Republicans that say that they are strict constructionists—if you strictly read the United States Constitution, it is the president’s role to nominate a justice for an opening on the Supreme Court, and the Senate’s role to advise and consent. It is not in the Constitution to do that when they feel like it, to do it when they want to make sure that their, their, their presidential candidate is able to appoint one. It’s to just do it when there’s an opening.
There are some Republicans—senators facing tough re-election battles in November—who have said they are willing to meet with Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, who was introduced this week as his choice to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. But there is nothing in the advice and consent clause of the Constitution that places a timetable on when the Senate should act on presidential appointments, so they are perfectly within their rights if they choose to take their time on the nomination.