*Similar releases will be sent targeting vulnerable GOP senators in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri and Arizona
Senator Rob Portman is once again putting his political party ahead of his constituents. Portman, who votes with Republicans 92% of the time, is standing with Mitch McConnell to obstruct the constitutional process and his decision could set a “record for vacancy” on the Supreme Court:
Since 1869, when Congress settled on a nine-justice panel, the longest the Court has gone without a complete roster is 391 days, from the resignation of Abe Fortas on May 14, 1969 to when Harry A. Blackmun took the oath of office on June 9, 1970. This delay was due in large part to the fact that President Nixon’s first two choices for the seat were rejected by the Senate.
As of Sunday, Obama has 340 full days left in office. If indeed the Senate does not confirm anyone for the remainder of his term, the next president will have just under two months to get a new justice approved by the Senate and sworn in before breaking Nixon’s record.
The Constitution is clear: the President is empowered to nominate Supreme Court justices, and then it is the responsibility of the Senate to provide “advice and consent.” However, Republicans won’t even allow for a standard confirmation process to move forward. By agreeing with McConnell, Portman has thrown his support behind an unprecedented obstruction of the constitutional process, and is earning the appropriate criticism for it.
From the Toledo Blade:
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…
It’s understandable that Republican senators would prefer not to face the prospect of losing the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that Justice Scalia did so much to propel. But imposing that ideological and partisan preference by refusing to do the jobs they were elected to do would be to the detriment of the country and the administration of justice.
“Vulnerable Republican senators like Rob Portman have once again opted to disregard one of their job’s most basic responsibilities in favor of scoring cheap political points,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “By playing partisan games with something as important as a Supreme Court nominee, Rob Portman has made clear that he has no interest in responsible governing. Ohioans won’t forget this come November, and will turn out to elect a senator who will actually do the job.”