The Senate Should Give the People a Voice on the Next Supreme Court Appointment

We need to do what’s best for North Dakota and the nation.

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the people should have a voice in who will replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president has the right to appoint, but the Senate has the right to consent or not. In fact, presidents have made 160 nominations for the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed only 124 of them. And of the 36 failed nominations, the majority of them, 25, received no up-or-down vote.

“The American people need to have an opportunity to voice their opinion at the ballot box as to what kind of judge they want to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. In fact, that is actually a bipartisan position expressed by numerous Democratic leaders in recent years,” Hoeven said.

Facts about the Democratic position on considering Supreme Court nominees in an election year demonstrate a double standard. (See today’s Washington Post’s Fact Checker.) 

  • The Biden Rule: In 1992, then Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden said: “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.”
  • Democratic Leader Harry Reid in 2005 said: “The duties of the Senate are set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give Presidential nominees a vote.
  • Presumptive Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in 2007said: “[F]or the rest of this President's term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation.

“More importantly, whoever is appointed to the Supreme Court needs to be good for North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “In the coming months and years, the Court will be ruling on such important issues as President Obama’s costly new federal regulations on agriculture and energy production. For example, the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, would adversely affect every one of our farmers and ranchers. New regulations on CO2 and fracking would hurt our ability to produce electricity and oil and gas for the nation. Any Obama nominee, like this one, will support the president’s regulatory agenda, which is counter to the interests of North Dakota.”