Urges Senate to consider Supreme Court Nominee as has been done throughout nation's history
Washington, D.C. - In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet opposed efforts to delay consideration of a nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, saying the tactic was akin to replacing Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution with so-called "standard practice" that has no real historical precedent.
In the past 100 years, the Senate has taken action on every single Supreme Court nominee, even those made during a presidential election year. Throughout our history, there have been at least 17 nominees confirmed by the Senate in presidential election years. The last of these was Justice Kennedy in 1988.
Bennet noted that when the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee said "it's been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year," he was incorrect.
"Since the founding of this country, the Senate has done its job even in an election year. In fact, during one election year the Senate voted to confirm not just one but three justices to fill vacancies on the Court. The President was none other than George Washington. And he was in the fourth year of his second term," Bennet said. "That Senate included some of our founders, delegates to the constitutional convention. But, come to think about it, what did they really know about the Constitution?"
Bennet cited Justice Scalia himself who warned against the perils of proceeding with 8 justices. He also noted that Senators and presidential candidates who claim to be "constitutional originalists" or "textualists" have willfully ignored the plain meaning of the Constitution in favor of so-called "standard practice." While documenting that this "standard practice" has historically not been the practice of the Senate, Bennet demonstrated how the use of this new "standard practice" would change Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, which directs the president to nominate judges of the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Senate. Only seven words remain from the original constitutional text, including "and," "the," and "of."
The video and text of the full speech can be found here.