Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania held firm to his view that the next president should fill the U.S. Supreme Court's vacancy, and he said Thursday that it's very unlikely that he or a Senate majority would support President Barack Obama's nominee.Um so he's saying that the Senate confirmation process is about something other than qualifications?
He also said it might be better to not hold election-year confirmation hearings because senators would be weighing more than just a nominee's qualifications. He and other Republicans would also consider how a nominee from the Democratic president would change the court's balance in his favor before a new president takes office, Toomey said.
"It's very unlikely that any nominee, however well qualified, could reach the level that would be necessary to satisfy both sets of criteria," Toomey told The Associated Press. "And for that reason, it might be just as well not to have a hearing that would, sort of, might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate, because it's bigger than that."[Emphases added.]
This is surprising, given what the now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in 2001:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I first began to deal with the Senate's advise and consent role as a staffer here in 1969 and 1970 to a member of this Committee during the Haynesworth and Carswell nominations, and subsequently wrote the only law journal article I wrote as a young man on that subject after those contentious nominations were concluded. I believed then and believe now that the appropriate role of the Senate is largely as Senator Kyl suggested, which is to judge the competence and the integrity and the fitness of a judge to be on the bench.We've already seen McConnell's hypocrisy on this subject. But his point that was clear in 2001 (even with the contested "election" of 2000), is just as clear now, that President Obama won the election of 2012 and thus is entitled to tilt the judiciary in the direction he feels appropriate.
I dutifully returned, gagging occasionally, every single one of the blue slips I received during the Clinton years positively. My view then and my view now is that the President won the election, no matter what the margin, and is entitled for the most part to tilt the judiciary in the direction that he feels appropriate. [Emphases added.]
Senator Toomey, however, finds this "unreasonable" in that he doesn't want "the court's balance" to tilt in favor the guy from the other party who won (yes, actually won) the last two presidential elections.
Toomey needs to do his job. And his job is to take part on the "advise and consent" process as outlined in the Constitution - not to reject it out of hand for partisan purposes.
Toomey's opponents (listed alphabetically by last name)
- John Fetterman - who said recently "The self-serving negligence we are seeing from the GOP is the reason why everyone hates Congress, and is simply disrespectful to the American people. So which is it, Sen. Toomey: will you do your job, or choose partisanship over patriotism?"
- Katie McGinty - who said recently that "In Pat Toomey’s obstructionism, what we see is a deliberate effort to try to make the Supreme Court of the United States an extension of Republican partisan politics."
- Joe Sestak - who said recently "It is time for Pat Toomey to fulfill his duty to the people of Pennsylvania and vow to quickly consider a new Supreme Court Justice rather than marching lockstep with partisan obstructionists in Washington, D.C."
The important thing is to get have the strongest candidate on the other side of the primary and then to vote Senator Toomey out of office in November.