Democrats keep trying to use the GOP holding off on a hearing for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s SCOTUS nominee in the wake of the death of Antonin Scalia, to somehow suggest now that Republicans have some form of an obligation to hold off on having a confirmation hearing for a nominee from President Donald Trump until after the next inauguration.
But as we’ve noted earlier, the two situations are not the same and history has shown there’s a difference between when the Senate is of the same party as the president and when it isn’t. My colleague, Scott Hounsell, also discussed the differences here.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a constitutional attorney, explained to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the difference between the two situations, that the mainstream media is skipping over this point.
On SCOTUS, Dems & GOP are arguing exact opposite of what both sides argued in 2016. Doesn’t that mean both sides are hypocrites?
Actually, no. WATCH this clip to hear the historical FACTS & constitutional checks & balances that MSM ignores.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 20, 2020
“29 times there has been a vacancy in a presidential election year. Now, presidents have made nominations all 29 times,” Cruz explained. “That’s what presidents do. If there’s a vacancy, they make a nomination.” But he also explained that of those times, when the president and the Senate are of the same party, the nominee has been confirmed 17 out of 19 times. But when the president and the Senate are of different parties, the other 10 times, they’ve only confirmed the nominee twice.
As Cruz explained, it’s a matter of “checks and balances.” In order to have a nomination go forward, you need both the president and the Senate.
One of the big reasons that the people voted in Donald Trump, Cruz said, was to ensure “principled Constitutionalists on the court.” For 2014, 2016, and 2018, Cruz said, what people were saying with their Senate votes is that they wanted those Constitutionalists that the GOP would bring/guarantee, that’s why they kept increasing the Republican majority in the Senate. So, the Republican position was not in fact inconsistent, but totally in keeping with history and norms.
Not so much the Democrats, who argued in 2016 that the Senate shouldn’t hold off on hearing on Merrick Garland, but now are arguing they should, when in 2016 there was reason, history, and checks and balances to, and now there aren’t.
Does anyone really believe that if the Democrats had power in the Senate in 2016 they wouldn’t have moved forward with Obama’s nominee? Of course not.
As Ted Cruz also explained, another critical reason is the importance of having a full complement of nine judges as we go into a contentious election that is likely to be fraught with legal challenges that may go up to the Court, to avoid having a Constitutional crisis.