(Boston Globe) -- On Tuesday, Senate Republicans took the unprecedented step of officially refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The 11 GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee declined to hold hearings for potential successors, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed not to hold a vote. Several went so far as to say they wouldn’t even meet with whomever the president puts forward. In a political atmosphere already fraught with tension, this was an extraordinary moment.
Republicans may try to stop Obama from appointing the next Supreme Court justice, but their delay tactics won’t work in the long run. The next justice will be appointed by a Democratic president, either before or after the next election, so the Senate should just get on with filling the vacancy left by Scalia’s death. The Senate’s job is to hold hearings, vet a new nominee, and hold a vote to either approve or reject that nominee. But the notion that delaying the process will improve the chances that a genuine conservative of – or anything like – Scalia’s caliber is pure fantasy.
The changing demographics of this country – and the Republican party’s insistence on practicing the politics of exclusion – mean that the Democrats will occupy the White House for the foreseeable future, perhaps for the next generation. This is a point I made almost two years ago in May of 2014 while the Democrats in the House were pleading with Republicans to allow a vote on immigration reform. The Senate had passed a bipartisan bill the year before, and the Republican-controlled House had so far refused to take action or come up with its own more conservative approach to immigration reform. Nothing was happening.
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