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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Attorneys General from 19 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico — all of them Democrats — have signed a letter calling on Senate Republicans to carry out their “advise and consent” duties for the president’s future Supreme Court nominee.

Mitch McConnel and Chuck Grassley have led Senate Republican’s collective refusal to consider any Obama nominees for the court, claiming that a newly-elected president would have a greater democratic mandate from voters to make such a choice.

This, of course, ignores more than a century of precedent in which nominees to the Supreme Court have received Senate hearings, even those nominated during the president’s last year in office.

The attorneys general used the letter to point to the effects the court’s vacancy had on their own responsibilities at the state level:

“The states and territories have a unique and pressing interest in a full and functioning Supreme Court. We rely on the Supreme Court to resolve questions of federal law, to resolve disputes between the states, to evaluate the constitutionality of state laws, and to ensure that federal and constitutional law are interpreted and applied uniformly across all states and territories. TheSupreme Court not only resolves disputes that implicate States’ vital interests, it often does so in closely divided cases.”

In a conference call with members of the media, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said that the letter was more than a political maneuver from Democrats, and that Republican claims that the “advise and consent” role includes the right not to advise or consent was inconsistent with their historical place in nomination processes.

“It’s not that they’re not consenting, they’re not considering,” he said. “They’re not deliberating.”

He called obstructionist Republican senators’ brinksmanship “lazy and arrogant,” and continued, “If you apply their logic, [Senator Chuck] Grassley’s vote shouldn’t count this year,” because he is up for re-election in Iowa.

Photo: President Obama meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, at the White House in Washington March 1, 2016. From L-R: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Vice President Joe Biden, Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). REUTERS/Yuri Gripas 
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