Rob Portman was quick to back Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist plan this week, and has earned a well-deserved rebuke from Ohio newspapers:
…The GOP timetable likely would leave Justice Scalia’s seat empty for well over a year — and, in close cases, leave the high court unable to act decisively. Creating a crisis in one of the three branches of the federal government is too high a price to pay for partisan advantage.
Regrettably, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who is seeking re-election this year in a state that Mr. Obama won twice, has adopted his party’s indefensible line. On Monday, Senator Portman cited a non-binding “rule” that says the Senate should not confirm a justice during a presidential election year. But in 1988, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Justice Anthony Kennedy during President Ronald Reagan’s final full year in office.
The issue is a hot potato for the senator, who could face a close election for his seat against likely Democratic challenger Ted. Strickland.
…Strickland, who had called on Portman to break with McConnell and support a nomination consideration, condemned the senator’s decision.
It is regrettable that Republican presidential candidates and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have said the court vacancy shouldn’t be filled until the country has elected a new president.
…This is an affront to the president’s constitutional authority to nominate a justice. And it is an abdication of the Senate’s duty to “advise and consent” in confirming a nominee; it should consider an individual’s merits.
“Senator Portman has once again put the Republican party ahead of his responsibility as a U.S. Senator,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “It’s disappointing Senator Portman would ignore his basic duties, and Ohio voters will remember this blatant disregard for the constitutional process in November.”