Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, fired back against the already entrenched Republican obstruction to a President Obama nominee, saying SCOTUS is too important to leave understaffed.
Politico congressional reporter Burgess Everett tweeted:
The battle has already begun. Leahy: SCOTUS "is too important to our democracy for it to be understaffed for partisan reasons."
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 13, 2016
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he has already assumed that Republicans would successfully block a President Obama nominee. Cruz is already using Scalia’s death as a get out the vote tool for his campaign.
This is shaping up to be a brawl that Democrats are not backing down from as they have in the past.
The fact of the matter is President Obama won two elections, he is in office right now, he has almost a year left in office and every right to have his nominee appointed. Not only does he have that right, but that is what the people wanted and that is why they voted for him to be their President.
Furthermore, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is now the most senior Associate Justice on the court, was appointed by former President Reagan and he was confirmed by a Democratic senate in an election year. Nominated in November of 1987, Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1988 after sailing through the confirmation process.
Meanwhile as Republicans look for ways to exploit Justice Scalia’s unexpected death for political purposes, the President and First Lady extended their deepest condolences to Justice Scalia’s family. There will be a statement from the President later today.