The Senate Democrats’ sharp-elbowed leader is warning Republicans against blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, claiming such an action would be a radical abdication of their duties as senators.
“Pursuing their radical strategy in a quixotic quest to deny the basic fact that the American people elected President Obama — twice — would rank among the most rash and reckless actions in the history of the Senate. And the consequences will reverberate for decades,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wrote in an op-ed published at The Washington Post.
According to Reid, the Senate’s constitutional duty to confirm Supreme Court nominees trumps “partisan battles” and is essential to the country’s system of checks and balances. Failing to allow a nominee to proceed, he wrote, would mean the Republican majority had given the party over to GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
“My Republican Senate colleagues should know, too, that they will be unconditionally surrendering their party to hard-line presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Donald Trump,” he wrote.
“Behind closed doors, many of my colleagues complain about the direction their party has taken in recent years,” Reid continued. “But if they cross this Rubicon, they will be as culpable as Sen. Cruz or Trump themselves, having resigned any claim to leadership and enlisting as foot soldiers in a radical effort to obstruct and delegitimize the president at all costs.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stressed that no nominee should replace Scalia until after the 2016 presidential election.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” he said in a statement Saturday. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
Scalia was found dead Saturday at a West Texas Ranch. He was 79 years old.