Two major developments occurred this week in the fight to keep open the seat left vacant by the amazingly untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13.
First, in keeping with pledges made on the day Justice Scalia’s death was announced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with the Senate Judiciary Committee – those responsible for the hearings that vet Supreme Court nominees from the White House – and the senators emerged from that meeting to announce that there will not be hearings for a Supreme Court nominee during the remainder of the lame duck period of Barack Obama’s presidency.
“We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president,” Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters Tuesday after a special meeting of the committee.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said members of the panel reached a “consensus” that there should not be hearings or a vote on President Obama’s nominee.
“My decision is that I don’t think we should have a hearing. We should let the next president pick the Supreme Court justice,” he said after emerging from a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office.
It is said that the decision was unanimous and that McConnell backs it despite opposition from a handful of moderates in the Republican Party. (Reporting and quotes from The Hill.)
On the other side of the aisle, the race to actually place a liberal justice on the Supreme Court, if necessary by recess appointment, is on. Not only is it on, but it is being pushed by a number of “non-profits” that happen to have one major benefactor in common: George Soros.
Thanks to NewsBusters for the graphics, these groups that push the liberal message and Democratic Party line, all count Soros as a major donor.
(Note how patriotic all of these organizations’ names sound.)
According to both NewsBusters and the New York Times, the Ford Foundation – no relation to the car company – also is a donor to some of these groups at this level. These are the groups that hopped to when Valerie Jarrett called them all from the White House before Justice Scalia’s body was even in the ground, and determined their strategy.
In what one participant described as part pep rally and part planning session, Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, and Neil Eggleston, the White House chief counsel, urged dozens of the president’s allies who were on the phone not to hold back in their condemnation of Republicans for refusing to hold hearings to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last week.
The White House hardly needed to prod the interest groups during the Tuesday call. The outcome of this battle could determine the fate of a vast array of contentious issues for decades to come: immigration, climate change, gun rights, campaign finance, health care, affirmative action, gay rights and abortion.
And so the battle lines were drawn then, and the GOP has dug itself a trench now: there will be a battle royale of rhetoric and will to see the Obama White House successful in putting another justice on the Supreme Court.
What will be interesting – and not a little satisfying for those who like to watch liberals’ words used against them – is the questions posed to the Democrats now faced with trying to force their colleagues into going back on their word and waving the white flag of surrender. In 2008, they were the ones dead set on not filling a vacant seat. We’ve all seen the videos. Now the tables are turned. (Humble pie and crow, anyone?)
At this point, all the people can do is sit back and watch as this plays out.