White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday insisted that Democrats had a responsibility to confirm any “qualified” Supreme Court nominee even though Senate Republicans had refused to hold hearings for President Barack Obama’s nominee.
“The default is if you are generally qualified and not extreme you are confirmed,” Spicer told reporters ahead of the Tuesday night announcement of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
One reporter pointed out that Republicans had not followed that standard after Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland.
“There’s never been a situation in which you had a fourth term, someone that late in an election cycle,” Spicer opined. “That had never occurred before. And I think the Senate Republicans were very clear that we should wait and let the voters have a choice. And that’s exactly what happened.”
In fact, Obama nominated Garland in the fourth year of his second term, 10 months prior to the election.
A study conducted last year by law professors Robin Bradley Kar and Jason Mazzone found the GOP obstruction to be unprecedented.
“There really is something unique about the position Republican senators are taking with respect to the Scalia vacancy,” Mazzone told The New York Times. “We really did not find any precedent for the idea, notwithstanding the Senate’s very broad powers in this area, that a sitting president could be denied outright the authority to offer up a nominee who would receive evaluation through normal Senate processes.”
“There is a difference between the Senate rejecting, as it’s quite entitled to do, a particular nominee on the merits, and the Senate taking the position that a president cannot exercise a constitutionally delegated power.”
Watch the video of Spicer below via MSNBC.