“For all their avowed reverence for the Constitution’s language, the Republican senators are making a deliberately distorted reading of its directive. Not only does their stance reject a clause of the Constitution, their justification casts doubt on the system the Constitution constructs and protects. They are questioning the democratic legitimacy of the president and doubting the ability of the democratic system to withstand the pressures of both a presidential election and hearings on a Supreme Court nominee. With that, they dismiss the authority and the resiliency of American democracy.
By failing to cooperate with the constitutional mandate, Republican senators are elevating destructive obstruction over constructive process and claiming full responsibility for the gridlock that has hindered the nation’s progress throughout most of Obama’s tenure. They are also impairing the function of the Supreme Court, leaving it unable to resolve 4-4 votes. And finally, and most dangerously, they are openly politicizing the high court and destroying public confidence in its independent and objective interpretation of the law.”
Finally, as for the contention of those, like N&O contributor J. Peder Zane, that the election will take care of the matter, it’s worth noting that there is far from any guarantee that this is so. If Republicans retain control of the Senate, what’s to stop them from blocking a Clinton or Sanders nominee for two or four more years? Won’t they be able to argue that “the voters have spoken” by putting them back in charge of the confirmation process?
The bottom line: Try as they might to spin their outrageous dereliction of duty as a defense of democracy, the plain truth is that it is precisely the opposite.