FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 41
(Senate - March 15, 2016)

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[Pages S1481-S1482]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                   FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, on another note, I come to the floor to 
make a few remarks about the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of 
Justice Scalia.
  It is pretty clear that our colleagues across the aisle do not 
believe that the American people deserve a voice in the process by 
which the successor to Justice Scalia is selected. We have made our 
position pretty clear that there will not be a new Justice confirmed 
until the American people, in the elections that come up in November, 
make their preferences known about who will make that appointment.
  Instead of following the rule book of the minority leader, the senior 
Senator from New York, and our current Vice President--the ones that 
they advocated for under a Republican administration--our Democratic 
friends now argue that a lameduck President should be able to nominate 
someone to a lifetime appointment to our Nation's highest Court, which 
will upset the ideological balance on that Court for a generation. As I 
have mentioned before, the last time a Supreme Court nominee was 
nominated and confirmed during an election year was 1932, and we have 
to go back much earlier, to 1888, to find a similar situation in 
divided government, which we have now.
  When Vice President Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary 
Committee, he made perfectly clear that a Supreme Court nominee should 
not be considered until after a Presidential election has concluded. As 
we all know, both Democrats and Republicans are well down the road to 
making their selection for their nominee for President, and obviously 
we will have that election in the coming November. But our friends 
across the aisle continue to contradict themselves and their previous 
statements, insisting that this decision is somehow unprecedented. 
Well, we know it is not, because if the shoe were on the other foot, 
they have made clear what they would do.
  I thought I might share with my friends across the aisle what so many 
of my constituents in Texas have told me about our decision to let them 
have a voice in the selection of the next lifetime appointment to the 
Court.
  Killeen, TX, is the home of Fort Hood, one of the largest military 
installations in the world. Last Friday, the town decorated a memorial 
to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack of 2009, 
when MAJ Nidal Hasan went on his violent rampage. But John from Killeen 
wrote:

       President Obama is free to make any nomination he wants 
     under the Constitution. The Senate, under the same 
     Constitution, has no obligation to hold hearings on or 
     confirm that nomination. The Judiciary Committee's decision 
     to observe the so-called Biden Rule is absolutely correct. 
     The replacement for Justice Scalia should be nominated by the 
     next president.

  I agree with the letter writer, and the minority leader agreed with 
him in 2005 as well. That is basically what Senator Reid said in 2005 
during the Bush 43 administration. While the President could nominate 
anybody he wanted, the Senate was not obligated under the Constitution 
to vote on that nominee.
  At the end of the letter, John asked me to ``hold the line'' on this 
decision. He, like many Americans, is passionate about having a say in 
the selection of the next Supreme Court nominee. I intend to do 
everything I can to make sure they do have that voice.
  Another constituent from Plano--just north of Dallas--was emphatic 
that the Senate should ``Give We The People a say.'' I couldn't agree 
with him more.
  The American people made clear they wanted a check on the Obama 
administration in November of 2014 when they put Republicans in the 
majority of the Senate. Now we have an obligation to use that mandate 
from the people for issues that matter most to our country, and that 
includes the direction of the Supreme Court.
  My constituents are right to care deeply about this because there is 
so much at stake. As I said, the next Supreme Court Justice could well 
change the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation and 
fundamentally reshape American society in the process. So the people 
should have a chance for input and should have a voice. I am proud to 
stand alongside my Republican colleagues and make sure their voice is

[[Page S1482]]

heard in the next selection of a lifetime appointment to the Court.

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