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TNGOP Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Nomination

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-March 16, 2016–The Tennessee Republican Party released the following statement from Chairman Ryan Haynes regarding today’s eleventh hour nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama:

Article II of the United States Constitution gives the President the authority to make a nomination to the Supreme Court and gives the U.S. Senate the equal authority to provide consent. Liberals with blinders on will demand this nominee be confirmed, but that is not what the Constitution requires nor is it what will happen. Instead, the American people should get to weigh in on this matter in November. It’s a simple question: Should President Obama have the opportunity to handpick yet another Supreme Court Justice or should we waitRepublicans believe we should wait.

“While many on the political Left favor unfettered executive power, there is a very clear procedural framework providing a legislative check laid out in our Founding Document.

“Here is the bottom line: Consent is not forthcoming from this Senate. This eleventh hour nomination will not go forward. Democrats should not be in the position of denying the American people a voice in this decision.”

 

 

 

Background

THE CURRENT DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP HAS A LONG ESTABLISHED “TRADITION AGAINST ACTING ON SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS IN A PRESIDENTIAL YEAR”

While Serving As Chairman Of The Judiciary Committee, Current Vice President Joe Biden, Said The President Should Not Put Forth A Supreme Court Nominee “Until After The November Election”

While Serving As Chairman Of The Senate Judiciary Committee, Then-Sen. Biden (D-DE) Biden Said That “The Tradition Against Acting On Supreme Court Nominations In A Presidential Year Is Particularly Strong.” THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Moreover, the tradition against acting on Supreme Court nominations in a Presidential year is particularly strong when the vacancy occurs in the summer or fall of that election season.” (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

  • Then-Sen. Biden (D-DE) Called On The President To “Not Name A Nominee Until After The November Election.” THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): : “Mr. President, where the Nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As a result, it is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not–and not–name a nominee until after the November election is completed.” (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

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The Washington Post Headline: “In 1992, Joe Biden Called For An Election-Year Blockade Of Supreme Court Nominations.” (Mike DeBonis, “In 1992, Joe Biden Called For An Election-Year Blockade Of Supreme Court Nominations,” The Washington Post , 2/22/16)

Future Democrat Senate Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Called For The Senate To “Reverse The Presumption Of Confirmation” And “Block” Any Supreme Court Nominations For The Remainder Of George W. Bush’s Term

In A July 2007 Speech, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Called On The Senate To “Reverse The Presumption Of Confirmation” For The Remainder Of George Bush’s 18 Months As President.SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Second, for the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.” (Sen. Chuck Schumer, Remarks At The America Constitution Society, 7/27/07)

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Politico: Schumer Declared The Senate “Must Block Any Future Supreme Court Nominees Under Bush.” “New York Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared last month in a speech that Democrats were ‘hoodwinked’ by Alito and Roberts and must block any future Supreme Court nominees under Bush.” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Roberts And Alito: An ’08 Issue,” Politico, 8/23/07)

Current Democrat Ranking Member Of The Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), On Multiple Instances Called For A Halt On Election Year Nominations

In July 2004, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Said That During A Presidential Election Year, Only “Consensus Nominees” With “The Approval Of the Majority And Minority Leaders” Should Be Considered. SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): “At this point in a presidential election year, in accordance with the Thurmond Rule, only consensus nominees being taken up with the approval of the majority and minority leaders and the chairman and ranking members of the Judiciary Committee should be considered.” (Sen. Patrick Leahy, Remarks On Senate Floor, 7/20/04)

In December 2006, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Called On The Senate To Follow A Rule “Which Said That In A Presidential Election Year… No Judges Would Go Through” Without Consent Of Both Party’s Leader. SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): “The Thurmond rule, in memory of Strom Thurmond, he put this in when the Republicans were in the minority, which said in a presidential election year after spring no judges would go through except by the consent of both the Republican and Democratic leader. I want to be bipartisan. We will institute the Thurmond rule.” (Sen. Patrick Leahy, Remarks At The Georgetown University Law Center, 12/13/06)

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THE CURRENT DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP AGREES THAT “NOWHERE” IN THE CONSTITUTION “DOES IT SAY THE SENATE HAS A DUTY TO GIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES A VOTE”

Current Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Has Accurately Pointed Out That What The Constitution Says Is “Very Different Than Saying Every Nominee Receives A Vote”

In 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Stated “Nowhere” In The Constitution “Does It Say The Senate Has A Duty To Give Presidential Nominees A Vote.” SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “The duties of the Senate are set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)

  • Reid: What The Constitution Says Is “Very Different Than Saying Every Nominee Receives A Vote.” SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)
  • Reid: “The Senate Is Not A Rubber Stamp For The Executive Branch.” SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the executive branch.” (Sen. Harry Reid,Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)

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Current Democrat Presidential Front-Runner, Hillary Clinton, Invoked The Constitution To Highlight The Senate’s Right To “Deny” The President “Advice And Consent” On A Supreme Count Nominee

While Serving In The Senate In 2005, Clinton Said The Senate’s Right To “Deny” A President “Advice And Consent” On A Supreme Court Nomination “Is In The Constitution.” THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): “I believe this is one of the most important roles that the Senate plays. This, after all, is in the Constitution. We are asked to give advice and consent, or to deny advice and consent.” (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Democrat Women’s Leadership Forum, 9/29/05)

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Current Democrat Ranking Member Of The Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Said The Constitution “Expressly” Provides The Senate The “Power To Withhold” Consent Of A Supreme Court Nominee

In A 2003 Speech, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Said The Constitution “Expressly” Provides The Senate The “Power To Withhold” Consent For A Supreme Court Nomination. SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): “The Constitution divides the appointment power between the President and the Senate and expects Senators to advise the President, not just rubber-stamp his choices. In fact, for most of the Constitutional Convention the Founders had assigned the constitutional power to appoint judges exclusively to the Senate. Toward the end of the convention, as part of the system of checks and balances, the appointment power was shared between the Senate and the President. Shortly afterward, William Maclay noted this in his famous journal: ‘Whoever attends strictly to the Constitution of the United States will readily observe that the part assigned to the Senate was an important one – no less than that of being the great check, the regulator and corrector, or, if I may so speak, the balance of this government.’ The Senate’s role in the process is not secondary and is not confined simply to a vote. The Constitution expressly speaks of the Senate’s authority to ‘advise’ as well as the power to ‘consent,’ which includes the power to withhold such consent.” (Sen. Leahy, Remarks At The National Press Club, 6/25/03)

  • Leahy: “The Senate’s Role In The Process Is Not Secondary” To The President And “Is Not Confined Simply To A Vote.” LEAHY: “The Senate’s role in the process is not secondary and is not confined simply to a vote. The Constitution expressly speaks of the Senate’s authority to ‘advise’ as well as the power to ‘consent,’ which includes the power to withhold such consent.” (Sen. Leahy, Remarks At The National Press Club, 6/25/03)

Even President Obama Himself Agreed With Harry Reid’s Assessment Of The Constitution, Pledging To Take “Very Seriously” The “Senate’s Advice And Consent Role Regarding A Supreme Court Nomination”

In 2005, Then-Senator Obama Agreed With Reid’s Assessment Of The Constitution, Pledging To “Take Very Seriously” The “Senate’s Advice And Consent Role Regarding A Supreme Court Nomination.” “I take very seriously the Senate’s advice and consent role regarding a Supreme Court nomination. I will be closely following the Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Roberts and will thoroughly review his record before deciding whether or not to vote to confirm him. I hope that this process will be civil and deliberate, because that is what the American people deserve.” (Press Release, “Obama Statement On The Nomination Of Judge John G. Roberts To The Supreme Court,” The Office Of Senator Barack Obama, 6/20/05)

THE CURRENT DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP HAS FOSTERED A PARTISAN CULTURE OF FILIBUSTER AND DELAY

In 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Promised That Senate Democrats Would Continue To Filibuster President Bush’s Judicial Nominees Throughout The President’s 2nd Term. “Reid used some of his strongest rhetoric to date to challenge the White House on an issue that produced bitter divisions during Bush’s first term. ‘If they bring back the same judges, we’re going to do the same thing,’ Reid told reporters.” (“Washington In Brief,” The Washington Post, 2/2/05)

  • Reid Promised To “Screw Things Up” For Senate Republicans If They Attempted To Alter Filibuster Rules. “If they, for whatever reason, decide to do this [change Senate rules on filibusters], it’s not only wrong, they will rue the day they did it, because we will do whatever we can do to strike back … I know procedures around here. And I know that there will still be Senate business conducted. But I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up.” (Helen Dewar and Mike Allen, “GOP May Target Use Of Filibuster,” The Washington Post, 12/13/04)

In 2003, While Discussing Potential Supreme Court Openings, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Proclaimed “I Am The Leader (Of The Filibuster Movement), And, You Know, I’m Proud Of It.”“Schumer began a campaign to reshape the way the Senate deals with judicial nominees — including members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Democrats, Schumer decided, would put ideology on the front burner in the confirmation process. Schumer’s deployment of the filibuster to smoke out the ideologies of Bush nominees is working, for now. ‘I am the leader (of the filibuster movement), and, you know, I’m proud of it,’ said the senator from Brooklyn.” (Douglas Turner, “Schumer V. Bush: Battle For The Courts,” The Buffalo News, 5/27/03)

In 2006, Current Secretary Of State John Kerry Helped Spearhead The Filibuster Movement Against George W. Bush’s Supreme Court Nominee. STEVE CENTANNI: “[A] group of Democratic senators plans to put up fight over the nomination of Samuel Alito to the high court. They’ll try to block the vote with a filibuster. Judge Alito met today with North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad, who announced he’s leaning in favor of voting for Alito. If he votes yes, he would join three other crossover Democrats, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. But Conrad also says today he thinks a filibuster would be unsuccessful. Now, Senator John Kerry, along with his fellow Massachusetts Democrat, Ted Kennedy, is spearheading this filibuster movement. He’s urging Democrats to take a stand.” THEN-SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): “It’s a fight worth making, because it’s a fight for the lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court of the United States.” (Fox News Channel’s ” The Big Story With John Gibson,” 1/27/06)

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Nearly Every Current Leader Of The Democrat Party Voted To Support The Unprecedented Filibuster Of The Nomination Of Justice Samuel Alito

President Barack Obama Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel Alito. (Alito Nomination – Cloture, CQ Vote #1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Obama Voted Nay)

Democrat Presidential Front-Runner Hillary Clinton Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel Alito.(Alito Cloture Vote, CQ Vote # 1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Clinton Voted Nay)

Vice President Joe Biden Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel Alito. (Alito Cloture Vote, CQ Vote #1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Biden Voted Nay)

Secretary Of State John Kerry Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel Alito. (Alito Nomination – Cloture, CQ Vote #1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Kerry Voted Nay)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel Alito. (Alito Nomination – Cloture, CQ Vote #1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Reid Voted Nay)

Future Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer Voted To Filibuster Samuel Alito. (Alito Nomination – Cloture, CQ Vote #1: Motion Agreed To 72-25: R 53-1; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Schumer Voted Nay)

Senate Judiciary Member Diane Feinstein Voted To Filibuster The Confirmation Of Samuel Alito. (CQ Vote #1: Motion Agreed To 72-25: R 53-1; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Feinstein Voted Nay)

Senate Judiciary Member Dick Durbin Voted To Filibuster The Confirmation Of Samuel Alito.(CQ Vote #1: Motion Agreed To 72-25: R 53-1; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Durbin Voted Nay)

Wisconsin Senate Candidate And Former Senator Russ Feingold Voted To Filibuster The Confirmation Of Samuel Alito. (CQ Vote #1: Motion Agreed To 72-25: R 53-1; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Feingold Voted Nay)

On The 2016 Campaign Trail, Hillary Clinton Has Defended Her Past Filibuster And Delay Tactics, Claiming That As A Senator “You Get To Use The Rules”

Clinton Said The Senate Is Permitted To “Use The Rules” During The SCOTUS Process. NBC’S CHUCK TODD: “As you know, President Obama says he now regrets voting to filibuster Justice Alito’s nomination. To quote the White House this week, ‘throwing sand in the gears of the confirmation process was a regret.’ You joined twenty four other democrats when you were in the senate to filibuster Justice Alito’s nomination, you ultimately voted against both Alito and Justice Roberts. Do you also regret that, considering the situation were in now, do you wish that you, like President Obama, feels as if ‘oh boy, wish I didn’t have that vote? I wish I had hadn’t participated in something like that?'” CLINTON: “Well, the way I look at it is this, I did oppose Justice Alito and as you say, Chief Justice Roberts because after meeting with them, listening to them, I did not believe that their judicial philosophy and approach was one that would be best for the country. So, I did, I spoke against him, I voted against him. But, we had a process, you know the nomination was made and we went through the process and what the Republicans today are saying is, ‘you can’t vote on anything, we don’t want the President to send us a nominee.’ I think that is very different and what I am saying is number one, the President has the right and obligation, under the constitution, to send forth a nominee, and the senate has an obligation , under the constitution, to approve or not. That’s very different from on the floor the senate making your arguments.” TODD: “But a filibuster if you had been successful then Judge Alito would not have gotten a vote on the floor the senate.” CLINTON: “That’s the way the senate operates, you get to have a vote, you get to use the rules and Harry Reid’s sitting here, he’s an expert on the rules, a master on the rules, you get to use the rules. That happens a lot and so I’m not in a position that the President is right now trying to talk some sense into the senate Republicans to actually do their constitutional duty, but once a nominee goes to the senate, then you go through the process. There should be hearings, both from the nominee and other witnesses, then it should be presented to the floor, then you use the procedures that are available and eventually, as you know, Justice Alito was confirmed.” ( MSNBC’s Democrat Town Hall, 2/18/16)

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