Republican Supreme Court strategy: Give President Obama Constitutional high ground

This past weekend America lost a great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was the face of the originalist school of Constitutional interpretation. So it was quite ironic when many leading Republicans publicly said that the next President should select Scalia’s replacement. For Republicans, ostensibly defenders of the Constitution to take this stand was very disappointing. The Constitution delineates the process for the appointment of Supreme Court justices, nowhere in the text does it say a President in the last year of his term should defer to the next President when a vacancy occurs. Scalia, if he sees this is surely having a conniption.

Not only are Republicans on the wrong side of this issue Constitutionally they also weakened their position politically. They have now put the President in the position of defender of the Constitution as laughable as that is. In fact he is already making the argument that he is in the right.

On Tuesday he called on Republicans to hold hearings and to have a vote for his nominee saying “there is no unwritten law that says it can only be done in off years. Only Republicans could put themselves on the defensive before a nominee has even been chosen. It will only get worse for them.

When the President nominates a replacement there will be public infighting among Republicans about how to proceed,while the President hammers any Republicans who oppose his pick as obstructionists.
If Republicans were smart they would have kept their public comments to mourning Scalia. Behind closed doors they could have mapped out their strategy on how to run out the clock on Obama’s term, or in the worst case scenario make sure they have enough votes in their caucus to defeat the President’s nominee. The way the Republicans have looked from the outset I wouldn’t be surprised if they totally collapse and confirm any nominee the President puts forward.

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