Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) has determined that the Senate should refuse to engage in its Constitutional role in confirming a nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. In support of this obstructionism, the Tea Party stalwart declared that the decision should be left for the next president. “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court Justices in an election year.” Interesting, but as usual completely false.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy to a vacant Supreme Court seat in November of 1987. Kennedy’s nomination received bipartisan support and he was confirmed in a 97-0 vote by the Senate in February 1988. Red and others (but apparently not the Junior Senator from Texas and self-styled always smartest man in the room) remember that 1988 was an election year and that February of 1988 was less than a year before Reagan left office. One wonders what Ronnie would think of bald-faced liar like Cruz.
And since Cruz fancies himself as an originalist and or strict constructionist, it might be interesting to look back at other Supreme Court justices who were confirmed in election years.
Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth – appointed by Washington – confirmed March 4, 1796
Justice Samuel Chase – appointed by Washington – confirmed January 26, 1796
Justice Alfred Moore – appointed by Adams – confirmed April 21, 1800
Justice William Johnson – appointed by Jefferson – confirmed May 7, 1804
Justice Roger Taney – appointed by Jackson – confirmed March 15, 1836
Justice Philip P. Barbour – appointed by Jackson – confirmed March 15, 1836
Justice Lucius Lamar – appointed by Cleveland – confirmed January 15, 1888
Chief Justice Melville Fuller – appointed by Cleveland – confirmed July 20, 1888
Justice George Shiras – appointed by Harrison – confirmed July 26, 1892
Justice Mahlon Pitney – appointed by Taft – confirmed March 13, 1912
Justice Louis Brandeis – appointed by Wilson – confirmed Jun 1, 1916
Justice John Clarke – appointed by Wilson – confirmed July 24, 1916
Justice Benjamin Cardozo – appointed by Roosevelt – confirmed March 1, 1932
Justice Frank Murphy – appointed by Roosevelt – confirmed January 16, 1940
It appears that Sen. Cruz and his ilk have little or no appreciation for the considerable precedent of the Senate actually doing its job and putting aside election year politics to act on Supreme Court nominations. But what else would you expect?