In this clip from the C-SPAN archives, President Reagan implores his Congress and the American people to fulfill their “constitutional obligation” and restore the Supreme Court to its full strength following the 1987 retirement of Justice Lewis F. Powell, whom he replaced with Justice Anthony Kennedy. Reagan had 13 months left in his term.
Saturday night’s Republican debate featured the whole field of GOP candidates, just a few hours after Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away, loudly demanding that the President leave our nation’s highest court with an even split until the election of the next president, obviously still entertaining the delusion that it will be one of them. They’ve attempted to argue that President Obama has no precedent for nominating someone during his final year, ignoring this video evidence that Reagan did the very same thing – when debate moderators reminded them of that fact, the audience booed, which should tell you all you need to know about the Republican race for the White House.
Sen. Maj Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his peers are demanding that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice” – by which they mean they should get to pick it, because as Senator Elizabeth Warren reminded us, the American people did have a voice in selecting that justice – when President Obama won re-election in a landslide.
If Congressional Republicans really respect Ronald Reagan as much as they say they do, they’ll listen to him and fulfill their obligation. Of course, even Reagan at this point is nothing more than a caricature of radical conservatism to be used for propaganda by the right as they see fit.
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.