Senator David Perdue: It Is The Role Of The Senate To Rise Above Political Theater

We will not consider a nominee to the Supreme Court before the next president is sworn into office.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor about his decision to not consider a nominee to the Supreme Court before the next president is sworn into office.

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“I believe the Senate should not hold hearings or schedule a vote on any Supreme Court nominee offered by President Obama until the American people choose our next president this November.

The American people are reacting to our global security and debt crises when they go to the polls, and this upcoming election will not only determine the direction of our country, but it also serves as a referendum on the Presidency and Congress, and now the Supreme Court balance.

The last seven years have shown that the President has sought to exceed the Constitutional bounds of his office by assuming powers that were delegated to this body.

For instance, in January of 2013, the President attempted to “recess” appoint nominees to the National Labor Relations Board in direct violation of the Senate’s will. Of course, the Supreme Court later intervened and struck down those appointments.

As well, my colleagues across the aisle have repeatedly shown a willingness to aid this administration in making unprecedented power grabs including employing the nuclear option on judicial nominees.

The American people were outraged at these events, as was I. So while I acknowledge the President’s position on insisting the Senate consider a nominee, it is vital that the people get their say on this lifetime position.

It is the role of the Senate to rise above current political theatre. It is about upholding this principle and not about the individual. The Senate simply should not consider a nominee at this time and let the people have their say.

I should also point out that my position, and the position of many of my colleagues is not a novel idea.

For instance: It was then-Senator Obama who filibustered Justice Alito’s nomination in 2006. It was then-Senator Biden who in 1992 pre-emptively said that President George H.W. Bush should avoid a Supreme Court nomination until after that year’s election.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, then-Senator Biden also made the same point we are today when he came to the floor of the Senate and said, quote: ‘It is my view that if a Supreme Court justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not – and not – name a nominee until after the November election is completed.’

The balance of the Supreme Court is in serious jeopardy. We must ensure that balance remains as a check against efforts by government to bypass the will of the people.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I stand with Chairman Grassley and other members in saying that we will not consider a nominee to the Supreme Court before the next president is sworn into office. We are already in the midst of a political campaign season, so any nominee will be seen through the lens of partisan politics. It is disingenuous for the minority party to say otherwise, and this is to the point that then-Senator Biden was speaking in 1992.

As we said in our letter last week, we intend to exercise the Constitutional power granted to the United States Senate under Article II, Section 2. While the President shall nominate judges to the Supreme Court, the power to grant or withhold consent of such nominees rests solely with this body.

At a time when the stakes are so high, the American people deserve the opportunity to engage in a full and robust debate over the type of jurist they wish to decide some of the most critical issues of our time for the next generation.

Not since 1932 has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year to a vacancy arising in that year. And it is necessary to go even further back – to 1888 – to find an election year nominee who was both nominated and confirmed under divided government, as we have now.

Today, the American people are presented with an exceedingly rare opportunity to decide the direction the Court will take over the next generation.

The people should have this opportunity.”