More Republicans have started going against the idea of appointing a US Supreme Court justice while President Obama is in office. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has left the position vacant, initiating a fresh series of debates in this election season.
Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio said it was a “common practice” not to work on lifetime appointments in the last year of a US president’s tenure. Pennsylvania Senator Patrick J. Toomey too agrees with him, according to the New York Times.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block Obama’s efforts to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. He said President Obama’s nominee would have no chance of being confirmed.
McConnell’s argument of not appointing a Supreme Court justice in the final year of a president may have several followers. However, here is a look-back into history.
Back in 1988, he voted to confirm the nomination of Anthony Kennedy. Ronald Reagan was in the final year of his term as the US president when he nominated Kennedy.
Not only McConnell but Republican presidential candidates also stand strongly against Obama on nominating a new judge. During a debate in South Carolina, GOP candidates argued Obama’s efforts should be either blocked or delayed.
“I really wish the president would think about not nominating somebody,” CBS News quoted Ohio Gov. John Kasich as saying. “I think we ought to let the next president of the United States decide who is going to run the Supreme Court with a vote by the people of the United States of America.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has a similar opinion about it. According to him, it is “not unprecedented.” “It’s been over 80 years since a lame-duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice,” Rubio said.
Senior Democrats and top officials from the White House have, however, started planning their strategy to counter the GOP argument against the appointment. They may argue it never took more than 100 days to appoint any of the last 12 Supreme Court justices.