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house Bill H. Res. 621

Should the Senate Reject President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominations?

Argument in favor

Barack Obama’s presidency is almost over. It should be up to the new president to appoint Scalia’s replacement to the Supreme Court.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
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03/01/2016
"You look at the Supreme Court judge — at first, you heard the Senate was absolutely ‘we will not do it.’ Yesterday, I started hearing, ‘Well, there could be a way.’ The Republicans are already weakening.” [breitbart.com]
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BTSundra's Opinion
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02/27/2016
The next president should have this honor. Besides, we don't want to live in a nation where the Constitution bows to the whim of regressive Liberals.
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Gopin2020's Opinion
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02/28/2016
Hell yes, grow some balls and stand your ground
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Argument opposed

As the sitting president, it is Obama’s right and responsibility to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. He is still the president, even in an election year.

BernieSanders's Opinion
···
03/01/2016
"The idea that Republicans want to deny the president of the United States his basic constitutional right is beyond my comprehension. So I will do everything that I can to make sure that when the president makes his nomination, the Senate goes forward in as speedy a process as possible, holds the necessary hearings and hopefully appoints and selects... the Supreme Court justice that the president nominates." [politcususa.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
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03/01/2016
"Refusing to even consider the President's Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented." [twitter.com/BarackObama]
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Steven's Opinion
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02/28/2016
Obstructionist children, being children! Imagine the good that could have been accomplished for this country in the last 8 years, if they would have just sat at the negotiating table. Instead we got this gridlocked do nothing congress. Congressmen have way too much job security, anyone else in any other field would have been fired long ago!
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedFebruary 23rd, 2016

What is House Bill H. Res. 621?

This resolution urges the Senate to reject any potential justices President Barack Obama nominates to the Supreme Court. Instead, it calls the Senate to wait for a new president before considering nominations.

A seat on the Supreme Court unexpectedly opened when Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Since the Court is made up of nine justices who hold their positions for life, openings are rare. To fill an opening, the president nominates a candidate, who must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and then the full Senate.

Without the conservative Scalia, the Supreme Court is ideologically divided (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito lean to the right, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan lean left). This means Scalia’s successor stands to swing the court one way or the other. In general, democrats want Obama to appoint someone before leaving office, while republicans want to wait until a new president takes office.

Impact

Barack Obama, the Senate, potential Supreme Court nominees, the Supreme Court, American people whose lives are affected by Supreme Court decisions

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 621

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note: It is rare for presidents in their final year to nominate justices to the Supreme Court — but that’s mostly because it’s rare for them to even have the opportunity.

Many republican members of Congress agree with Carter that the Senate should reject all Obama Supreme Court nominations, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to McConnell saying they will not hold hearings for any Obama nominees.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called their actions "obstruction [on] steroids."

While the seat remains open, the Supreme Court continues hearing and deciding cases with just eight members. In the case of a 4-4 tie, the decision of the lower court holds.

In Depth: In a letter to his colleagues, Sponsoring Rep. John Carter (R-TX) wrote that the government system of checks and balances exists to: 

“protect the minority from a tyrannical majority, and from an imperial President...We cannot allow this President to leave such a dangerous mark on our highest court for a generation to come.”

According to Rep. Carter’s resolution, Barack Obama’s administration is “one of the most divisive Presidencies in American history.” Because of this—and because the upcoming presidential election will be a “historic election that will shape the future for generations to come”—Carter thinks Scalia’s spot should remain open until the next president appoints a successor.


Media:

Summary by Katie Rose Quandt
(Photo Credit: Joe Ravi/ Wikimedia Commons)

Official Title

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the future of the Supreme Court.

    "You look at the Supreme Court judge — at first, you heard the Senate was absolutely ‘we will not do it.’ Yesterday, I started hearing, ‘Well, there could be a way.’ The Republicans are already weakening.” [breitbart.com]
    Like (186)
    Follow
    Share
    "The idea that Republicans want to deny the president of the United States his basic constitutional right is beyond my comprehension. So I will do everything that I can to make sure that when the president makes his nomination, the Senate goes forward in as speedy a process as possible, holds the necessary hearings and hopefully appoints and selects... the Supreme Court justice that the president nominates." [politcususa.com]
    Like (838)
    Follow
    Share
    "Refusing to even consider the President's Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented." [twitter.com/BarackObama]
    Like (467)
    Follow
    Share
    Obstructionist children, being children! Imagine the good that could have been accomplished for this country in the last 8 years, if they would have just sat at the negotiating table. Instead we got this gridlocked do nothing congress. Congressmen have way too much job security, anyone else in any other field would have been fired long ago!
    Like (101)
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    Simple questions: is this the president's constitutional responsibility? Yes. Is there any reason for Congress to make a blanket refusal against any nomination? No. Whoever is appointed, simply consider their merits, then vote. Do your job.
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    This bill reflects Constitutional ignorance by a Representative who, by oath, has sworn to uphold it. SHAME on him! The President is authorized to appoint Justices to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court. The Senate is mandated to advise and consent. Both groups should do the job they swore to do when they were elected. Any Senator who refuses to do his job should be turned out of office by the rules in his/her state.
    Like (46)
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    The next president should have this honor. Besides, we don't want to live in a nation where the Constitution bows to the whim of regressive Liberals.
    Like (44)
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    He's still the president, it's his job to nominate and it is the senate's job to consider his nominee.
    Like (39)
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    How arrogant of the GOP. We must put collective pressure on them with the promise that they risk not getting elected or reelected no way, no how.
    Like (32)
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    Hell yes, grow some balls and stand your ground
    Like (19)
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    Under the Constitution it is the president's duty to nominate the Supreme Court replacment. It is the duty of the Congress to advise him and approve the nominations are not. Both parties need to do their duty no matter where in the election. It is. Anything else is a dereliction of duty
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    Article 2, section 2 is pretty clear (even for a textualist) about the president's duties on appointing Supreme Court nominees. The senate can then advise and consent, as it directs them to. However, to reject, out of hand, any nomination is ridiculous. Hopefully this is only political posturing on the part of the senate, but I have my doubts.
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    The arguments in favor of this are simply unconstitutional. Nowhere in the constitution does it say a president shouldn't appoint a justice during her or his last year. Period! This is Republican obstructionism at its best. They are just upset that they are losing one of their most important and influential justices. The Democrats felt the same way when Thurgood Marshall died, but his seat was filled by Clarence Thomas. I'm tired of hearing we should wait for the next election and let the voters decide. The voters did decide, twice. Barack Obama is the president and has the constitutional authority to make nominations. If the Republicans refuse to do their job, they are basically holding one of the three branches of government hostage.
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    It is the senates right not to agree with a presidential nomination. They don't have to consent, it's their constitutional right. Let the people decide by by who ever is elected the new president. Obama just wants a legacy. We don't need his kind of legacy.
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    He has every right as president to do his job. And since republicans on congress, won't even meet with his nominee, their being very immature and foolish
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    The people DID have a voice on what type of SCOTUS nominees would be chosen. The people elected Obama TWICE. If the GOP wants that right, they need to win an election for POTUS. As for right now, they need to do their jobs. End of story!
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    I would like to know if this has ever been denied to any other president in history. The only reason this is a huge controversy is because Republicans have made it their duty to block President Obama at ever corner. He is the president for the next year. Why is this even up for discussion?
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    Absolutely. Vice-President Biden said the same thing when it was a sitting Republican President during an election year. This is part of the reason the population is sick of Washington politics. They are against one thing when it is the other party involved but when the roles are reversed they are for it.
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    According to the conservatives, the President's term was almost over in January, 2009. Get over yourselves. He won. TWICE!! It's his job to nominate & you have a bloody job to do. I know by your non-action that you think we expect you to collect a check & ignore us. Listen up: it's getting old. DO YOUR JOB! Hold hearings & get the Supreme Court back to work. A split dysfunctional court does not reflect well on anyone, especially you feckless dweebs in the Senate!!
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    What both parties have done is positively shameful -- re-interpreting the Constitution because they're in power. The Constitution empowers the President to nominate people to various offices & that included members of the Supreme Court. To balance this power, the Founding Fathers empowered the Senate to advise (the President) & consent of the President's nominee. Failure to follow the Constitution (or legislate changes to the law beforehand) endangers our democracy, these United States.
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