You may remember the letter I wrote to Senator Rob Portman a week or so ago regarding the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. One thing I will say about Senator Portman is that he always responds to my emails, and this was no exception. On Saturday I received this response …
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and the opportunity to respond.
As the second woman in history confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg served our country in this important role for 27 years. Her death on September 18, 2020 created a vacancy on the Court. The U.S. Constitution provides that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court.” Considering we are less than two months from a presidential election, there is controversy regarding whether the Senate should take up a nomination before the election. The Senate’s historical precedent demonstrates that when the same party controls the presidency and the Senate and a vacancy arises during a presidential election year, the Senate almost always confirms a nominee.
In the more than two dozen vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court that have arisen during a presidential election year in our nation’s history, the sitting president made a nomination in every single case. Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits. The president was elected in 2016, in part, based on a commitment to nominate men and women to the judiciary who would fairly and impartially apply the law and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not advance public policy goals by legislating from the bench. Likewise, in both 2016 and 2018, the American people have re-elected a Republican Senate majority to help President Trump fulfill that commitment.
In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said “the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.” Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposing-party president’s Supreme Court choice when the vacancy occurred in a presidential election year. In contrast, when the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party – as it is today –the precedent is for the president’s nominees to get confirmed. In the occasions that a vacancy has occurred when the President and the Senate are of the same party in a presidential election year, the Senate has confirmed the nominee and filled the seat in every instance but one where there was a bipartisan ethics concern. I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at portman.senate.gov . Thank you, and please keep in touch.
My response, if I felt inclined to respond, would be to remind him that the United States Supreme Court is intended, by the Constitution he places so much stock in, to be non-partisan. They are supposed to judge cases by their constitutionality, not by how the results play into the hands of one political party or another. What I hear in Senator Portman’s response is that he will continue licking the boots of the Ass in the Oval Office and will vote to confirm the nominee, for he hasn’t the cojones to stand up to either Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell. I hope I’m wrong.