Given the likelihood (albeit a slightly diminishing one) of a Hillary Clinton victory next week, Senate Republicans are starting to shift the goalposts by suggesting they might opt to leave Scalia's seat open indefinitely if Clinton takes the White House.
When some Republicans senators earlier this year dug in and blocked President Barack Obama's nominee, Garland, to the Supreme Court, they reasoned that voters should have a say in the court makeup through the November 8 election, Siegel said. This time, with Republican senators' obstruction keeping Antonin Scalia's seat empty since his death in February, the matter is anything but abstract.
But several Republicans have said if the voters elect Clinton, they'll block her nominees, effectively abandoning their advice and consent role for her entire term.
Burr told a group of supporters in North Carolina recently, "If Hillary becomes president, I'm going to do everything I can do to make sure that four years from now, we're still going to have an opening on the Supreme Court". CNN obtained a copy of the audio.
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A preemptive statement to block a presidential nominee's Supreme Court picks would have been shocking a few years ago, Siegel said. Four judges are due to be appointed to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, and the selection will determine the character of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Justice for a long time to come, even decades. They hastily converged on the idea that it was "too late" for Barack Obama to fill the seat, and that the proper (small-d) democratic outcome required letting the victor of the election seat the next justice. That happened because the Democrat-led Senate voted on and rejected Republican President Richard Nixon's first two choices for the court. Democrats predicted then that political pressure would force McConnell to eventually cave on that promise, but that didn't happen and the GOP blockade has barely registered in this year's elections.
McCain's colleague from Arizona, Senator Jeff Flake, has adopted a far more conciliatory tone by calling on Republicans to move forward with the Garland nomination in the lame duck session if Clinton is elected. He wasn't arguing that voters deserved "a voice" in choosing the next president, who would nominate a Supreme Court justice, and the next Senate, which would advise and consent on that nominee. With the remaining eight members of the court split neatly along ideological lines, the 113th justice is certain to swing the court one way or another. No Democratic president would be able to appoint any nominee as long as she or he did not have a Democratic Senate. Clinton could decide that she doesn't want a messy Supreme Court nomination fight to define her first months in office and ask Obama to re-nominate Garland as soon as the new Congress is sworn in on January 3. They have developed some promising theories that, should the electorate deliver the necessary Democratic presidency-Republican Senate combination, will next year blossom into the foundational bedrock principles of the Republic itself.
Burr amended his earlier comments somewhat, saying in the statement that he would "assess the record of any Supreme Court nominee", but that he had doubts Clinton could put up someone he would support. The justice minister sees this as an opportunity to change in one fell swoop the face of this central national institution, which still preserves something of the democratic and liberal character of Israel, in addition to protecting human rights and fundamental democratic principles. Mike Lee, who called for Trump to step down after news broke of a 2005 recording of Trump making crude, predatory comments about groping women.