February 25, 2016

Hirono, Schatz Push SCOTUS Pick

Top U.S. Senate Republicans say they will not hold a hearing on any nomination to the Supreme Court until President Barack Obama leaves office.

But Democrats, including Hawaii’s two U.S. senators, are fighting back, demanding that their GOP colleagues consider a replacement for the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

As National Law Journal reports, Mazie Hirono attended a panel of “liberal law professors” on Wednesday that argued for a confirmation process.

Asked if the GOP is violating the law, Hirono said, “This is a serious question, what can we do? Can a whole body be impeached? Can a leader of the body be impeached? What is the remedy?”

The panel and the senators concluded that senators cannot be impeached.

Meanwhile, a Talking Points Memo story explained how the SCOTUS battle has become an election issue. “Now, we would rather it be only a couple of weeks that we need to do this,” Schatz told TPM. “But if need be, this is going to be front and center in terms of evaluating candidates for federal office because if you refuse to do your job, you should not be allowed to keep it.”

Responding to a question about whether Senate Democrats could host an informal hearing for the nominee “once he or she is named by the President,” Schatz said, “Tactically, I think all options are on the table.”

But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who convened the Wednesday forum with constitutional experts, said any nomination “should go through the regular process.”

Schatz also used the SCOTUS standoff as an opportunity to ask for donations from supporters in an email blast Thursday:

This week, Senate Republicans made the unprecedented decision to not consider any Supreme Court nomination made by President Obama. No hearings. No courtesy meetings. No votes.

Instead, Senate Republicans now seek to spread their dysfunctional brand of governance to the judicial branch by leaving the Supreme Court one justice short of a full court for well over a year. The last time that happened was during the Civil War.

By:  Chad Blair
Source: Civil Beat