One of the most important duties of the president of the United States is to nominate federal judges to defend the Constitution and faithfully interpret America’s laws as intended.
In 2016 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, leaving an empty seat that needed to be filled. This void left by the extraordinary Justice Scalia was so big that it became a major factor in the presidential race between then-candidate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
President Barack Obama nominated Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to move the nomination because Obama was at the end of his second term — a lame duck until the next president took office.
Republicans had taken control of the Senate after the 2014 midterm elections. Americans elected a Republican majority to keep a check on the Democratic president, and that’s exactly what happened. As McConnell said in a statement last week: “Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”
In 2016, then-candidate Trump ran on the platform that he would pick a new Supreme Court justice in the same constitutionalist mold as Antonin Scalia. Leading up to the election, Trump released two lists of potential Supreme Court nominees, and then the American people sent Trump to the White House to fill the seat. President Trump kept his promise, and we now have Justice Neil Gorsuch sitting on the high court.
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Before the 2018 midterm elections, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, giving President Trump another seat to fill. The president chose highly qualified Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Kennedy’s successor. Senate Democrats then used every despicable dirty trick in the book to attempt to sink his nomination.
In the most disgraceful display in Supreme Court hearing history, multiple women falsely accused now-Justice Kavanaugh of horrid behavior when he was young — accusations that were blatant lies. Despite the lies, Senate Republicans successfully confirmed Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court.
The issue of whether Senate Republicans should continue confirming President Trump’s judicial nominations was on the ballot once again during the 2018 midterm elections, and the American people made their choice loud and clear. In the wake of the repulsive Democratic antics during the Kavanaugh hearings, the American people decided to expand the Republican majority in the Senate from 51 to 53 seats.
And that’s where we find ourselves as the Nov. 3 presidential election draws near. Last Friday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after 27 years of devoted service on the Supreme Court. Regardless of her vote against me in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, I have the utmost respect for her and my prayers are with her family.
Nevertheless, President Trump and Senate Republicans have a responsibility to carry out the duty they were entrusted with by the American people. The Supreme Court was on the ballot in both 2016 and 2018, and the American people put their faith in the hands of Republicans both times.
President Trump has said he will nominate a successor to Justice Ginsburg on Saturday. The Republican majority in the Senate must confirm that nominee as soon as possible.
The situation today is much different than four years ago, but unsurprisingly, the radical left is trying to obstruct the process. However, Republicans control both the White House and the Senate, and it’s clear that they were elected in part on the issue of the Supreme Court and filling vacancies in the federal judiciary.
The bottom line is that the Supreme Court cannot fully perform its duty to interpret the law as intended without having nine justices. As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said: “The American people deserve a fully-staffed court of nine.” He’s right. We simply cannot afford a four-to-four tie with the election hanging in the balance.
History is on the side of the GOP here. Justice John Paul Stevens was nominated and confirmed by the Senate in just 19 days. Justice Ginsburg herself was nominated and confirmed in only 42 days. So we know it’s very possible for a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed in the time left before Election Day. Senate Republicans now have the responsibility to ensure that happens.