March 15, 2016 - Issue: Vol. 162, No. 41 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 2nd Session
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. ____________________