09.08.16

Senator David Perdue Reaffirms Constitutional Right To Withhold Consent For Supreme Court Nominees

“No Supreme Court nominee should be considered by the Senate 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, once again spoke on the Senate floor to share why he believes that no Supreme Court nominee should be considered by the Senate before the next president is sworn into office.

Click here to view the speech or click on the image below. 

SCOTUS

Transcript:

“I’ve listened to several floor speeches today, and I don’t understand it. Here we are again with problems like the debt, Zika virus, funding our military, and yet, we spend a majority of the day in this body talking about something that I think we have already decided is not going to change this year. That is the potential nomination to the vacancy in the Supreme Court.  

I have spoken on this before, and I want to rise in support of Senator Grassley the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I think it is important that I discuss again why I believe the Senate should not hold hearings or schedule a vote on any Supreme Court nominee until the American people have chosen our next president.

I would first like to address the issue of the Senate’s responsibility under the Constitution with respect to judicial matters and judicial nominees particularly.

According to Article II, Section II, the president has the power to nominate Supreme Court justices. Nothing new there.

We, in this body, have the power to either consent or withhold our consent from his nominee.

As the Minority Leader himself said, when referring to the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to confirm President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees at that time, quote: ‘Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote.’

He went on to say, ‘The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the executive branch.’

There is also no provision in the Constitution requiring the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings for a judicial nominee.

In fact, the Constitution and its provisions laying out the process for confirming judicial nominees were ratified 28 years before the Senate Judiciary Committee even came in to existence.  

Therefore, it’s clear to me that the Senate’s action in withholding consent from this nominee is entirely consistent with our rights and responsibilities as a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution.

By choosing to withhold our consent in this case, we are doing our job as laid out in the Constitution.   

I would also like to address the argument that the lack of hearings for a Supreme Court nominee this year is somehow unprecedented. That’s just nonsense. In modern times, the opposite is actually true.

The last time a Supreme Court vacancy arose and a nominee was confirmed in a presidential election year was 1932.

The last time a Supreme Court justice was nominated and confirmed during an election year in a divided government was 1888.

A lot of water has gone on under the bridge since then and both sides have taken this position.

Furthermore, my colleagues across the aisle have consistently argued over the years that the Senate should not act on a Supreme Court nomination during a presidential election year. 

The hypocrisy of this situation is just amazing to me. As an outsider to this process, this is what drives my friends and people back home absolutely mad.

It was then-Senator Biden, our current Vice President, who as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that President George H.W. Bush should avoid a Supreme Court nomination until after the 1992 presidential election.

Then-Senator Biden went further than we are today, and said that the president shouldn’t even nominate someone. He made the same point that my colleagues and I are making today, when he 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 year, 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.’

Both sides have made this same argument that we are making today.

Finally, I believe the decision to not hold hearings for a Supreme Court nominee this year is a wise course of action in the midst of a presidential election.

As I’ve said all along, this is not the time, to interject into this political process, the decision to make a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court—a decision that may tip the balance of this particular court.

As then-Senator Biden also said when discussing the potential of holding Supreme Court confirmation hearings against the backdrop of election year politics, he said this and I quote: ‘A process that is already in doubt in the minds of many will become distrusted by all. Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the President, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself.’

I agree with then-Senator Biden that the confirmation of a lifetime appointee to our nation’s highest court is far too important to become entangled in the partisan wrangling during a presidential election year.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am therefore proud to stand with Chairman Grassley and my colleagues of the committee in saying that no Supreme Court nominee should be considered by the Senate before the next president is sworn into office. I also believe that it shouldn’t be taken up in lame duck, you can’t have it both ways.”

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