From an editorial Tuesday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
Congressional Republicans have taken obstruction to a new level. They’ve moved from shutting down the government to shutting down democracy.
They say that President Obama, twice elected president by a majority of American voters, does not reflect the nation’s will and therefore should not carry out his constitutional duty to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.
Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday endorsing McConnell’s call to refuse to hold hearings on any nominee until after the next president is sworn in on Jan. 20. Tellingly the senators misconstrue the Constitution when their letter says, “The president may nominate judges of the Supreme Court.” What the Constitution says is the president “shall” nominate.
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It is Obama’s constitutional duty to ensure that the high court is fully seated with nine members. The Senate is free to reject Obama’s nominee, but it is not free to reject its constitutional duty to “advise” the president on his choice and decide whether it will “consent” to it.
By failing to cooperate with the constitutional mandate, Republican senators are elevating destructive obstruction over constructive process and claiming full responsibility for the gridlock that has hindered the nation’s progress throughout most of Obama’s tenure.