Three things are likely to happen in response to the death of Chief Justice Scalia. (1) President Obama will nominate a replacement , (2) the Republican-controlled Senate, in defiance of the Constitution and the will of the 2012 presidential electorate, will refuse to examine or vote on the nominee, and (3) the Senate will go into recess. Could President Obama then install his nominee during said recess? Only, in the just-posted view of Newsweek‘s Lyle Deniston, “if the Senate is taking a recess lasting longer than three days, and does not come in from time to time during that recess to take some minimal legislative action. Both of those circumstances would be entirely within the Senate’s authority.
“The bottom line is that, if President Obama is to successfully name a new Supreme Court Justice, he will have to run the gauntlet of the Republican-controlled Senate, and prevail there. The only real chance of that [happening is] if he picks a nominee so universally admired that it would be too embarrassing for the Senate not to respond.”
CNN’s Dana Bash: Do you think that…do you think that if Republicans continue down this road, that they say they’re not going to bring up whomever the nominee is for a vote, would you recommend to the president a recess appointment?
Se. Patrick Leahy: I don’t even think we’re there. I think the president — and I have talked to the White House last night — I think the president has to nominate somebody, nominate a qualified person, a highly qualified person.
Bash: But would you rule…would you rule it out if things don’t change the way they are now?
Leahy: Well, I don’t even think…I don’t even think we’re there.
I think what we ought to do is nominate somebody. If the Republican leadership refuses to even hold a hearing, I think that is going to guarantee they lose control of the Senate, because I don’t think the American people will stand for that.
They want us to do our job. They can see us doing recess after recess, time off all year long. Tell us to come back, cancel one of those recesses, come back and have the hearing and have a vote. That’s what the American people expect the Senate to do.