When you look at what Republican state legislators are doing in North Carolina to effectively strip an incoming Democratic governor of considerable power enjoyed by the previous Republican occupant of the Governor’s chair, it’s a stark reminder to Democrats that Republicans play dirty and often change the rules of the game in the middle of the game to benefit them.
And while Democrats are loathe to alter the rules, there is a narrow window by which the US Senate can confirm President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court before the end of the President’s term without resorting to a recess appointment. Democrats just have to use the Republican playbook against them.
Senate Republicans have refused to even give Judge Garland a hearing — shirking their responsibility and showing that for them, it’s party before country. Screw that.
At noon EST on January 3, the Constitution says the terms of 34 U.S. Senators are expired, which briefly gives Democrats a small majority of 34 out of 66 sitting senators. The new Senators do not assume power until Vice President Joe Biden swears in the senators-elect. What Biden can do is preside — as president of the Senate — a hearing before he swears in the new senators. The Democratic majority could then affirm Garland to the Supreme Court over what’s bound to be whining and out-of-order complaints from Republicans and the President-elect. And President Obama could approve the vote on the spot. This is in-bounds when it comes to the rules, the rule of law, and — considering the unprecedented obstruction of Republicans in Congress — it’s just desserts.
There are several online petitions for this or contact Biden at the White House. He has nothing to lose and the country has everything to gain with a fully staffed Supreme Court. Garland isn’t a liberal — he’s as middle of the road as they come. Or perhaps you’d prefer a Scalia clone?
Time to give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine while still playing by the rules. The Senate has no excuse.