Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution is clear. A president may nominate judges to the Supreme Court, but the power to grant or withhold consent rests exclusively with the U.S. Senate.
Nowhere does it say that the Senate must hold hearings or votes on these nominees. Senators of both parties have acknowledged and supported this position for years.
In 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared, “Nowhere in that document (the Constitution) does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote.”
Vice President Joe Biden, former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made a similar argument in 1992. Biden said that “once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process.”
Both Reid and Biden were right then. Senate Republicans are right now. Despite Democrats previously making the same argument, they now say Republicans are not doing their job. I say we are doing our job.
What’s at stake here is the integrity of the advice-and-consent process, not a particular nominee. It’s the principle, not the individual.
The Democrats’ hypocrisy and political posturing is a perfect example of why Americans are fed up with Washington politicians and why Supreme Court confirmation hearings should not be held against the backdrop of a presidential election.
That is not a partisan viewpoint. The last time a Supreme Court vacancy arose in a presidential election year, and a nominee was confirmed in that same year, was 1932. Not since 1888 was a Supreme Court justice nominated and confirmed by a divided government in a presidential election year.
The upcoming presidential election will not only determine the direction of our country, but also serve as a referendum on the balance of the Supreme Court for generations.
The American people deserve a voice in this process.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress, serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.