“In this election year, the American people will have an opportunity to have their say in the future direction of our country,” Burr said in a statement released by his office Monday. “For this reason, I believe the vacancy left open by Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until there is a new president.”
That notion is both wrong and a political miscalculation.
There is no precedent for denying presidents the chance to appoint justices to the court in the final year of their presidency. They have done so several times, most recently in 1988 when the Senate unanimously confirmed President Ronald Reagan’s choice of current Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Someone could just as credibly argue that Burr, who’s running for re-election this year, should leave important votes to whomever the people of North Carolina choose for his seat in November. But that’s absurd. Burr was elected to a full term; so was Obama. They shouldn’t stop doing their jobs just because their terms are running out. Obama will be in office for 11 more months — plenty of time for the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, and too long to leave a vacancy.How it must rankle the neoreactionary souls of the GOP to argue against the Presidency exercising its Constitutional powers, as it must when then they argue the illegality of Executive Orders as well, when they would so dearly love to have one of their own in the office and let the gloves come off.
Make no mistake, just as the right had no problem with Anthony Kennedy when nominated by Reagan, they would have no problem today if this were President Romney's second term in its final year. Their position now is nakedly partisan, hypocritical, and their willingness to pretend otherwise and a radical assault on Constitutional governance.
But, we shouldn't be surprised they care so little for the Constitution, only a sucker ever bought that act to begin with. They loathe democracy, human rights, and anything else that interferes with the ability of oligarchs to impose their will on the people. They love the Constitution only as it suits them.