Ted Cruz has joined his Senate Republican colleague John McCain in declaring war on a potential — if not probable — new president’s appointment powers.
Cruz, the former GOP presidential candidate, says there is “precedent” for the Supreme Court to operate with only eight members. That is a form of code for saying that it it’s OK for the Senate to block anyone that a President Hillary Clinton would nominate to fill the vacant ninth seat on the nation’s highest court.
McCain was wrong to say such a thing. Cruz is equally wrong.
Assuming that Clinton wins the presidency in eight days, the Senate Republicans are digging in as they seek to block any appointment the Democratic president might make.
President Obama already has felt the sting of raw politics in that process. Antonin Scalia died eight months ago while vacationing in Texas. Obama selected federal judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Supreme Court justice — one of the conservative titans on the narrowly divided court.
The reaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was shameful in its political nature. Within hours of Scalia’s death, he declared that the Senate would block anyone President Obama would nominate; he declared that the nomination should be handled by the next president.
Well, Mr. Majority Leader, the next president is likely to be a Democrat, too. That has prompted Sens. McCain and Cruz to suggest that the next president won’t be able to nominate anyone, either.
Who’s playing politics with the U.S. Constitution? Republicans keep insisting that Democrats are doing it. They are shamefully lacking in self-awareness … as the continuing vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court has demonstrated all too graphically.