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Remember These Numbers When Republicans Accuse Democrats Of Obstruction

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Remember These Numbers When Republicans Accuse Democrats Of Obstruction

Democrats, Supreme Court

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Donald Trump has selected Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to take a seat that constitutionally was President Barack Obama’s to fill.

The Senate should have seated Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and then turned to Trump’s nominees as vacancies occurred. But that does not appear to be the political world America lives in, where Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have stolen an open seat that would have tilted the court’s balance away from a right-wing majority.

In their article, “The Garland Affair: What History and the Constitution Really Say About President Obama’s Powers to Appoint A Replacement for Justice Scalia,” Robin Bradley Kar and Jason Mazzone comprehensively review virtually every past Supreme Court nominations in our history and compile the data cited below.

“There have been 103 prior cases in which—like the case of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland—an elected President has faced an actual vacancy on the Supreme Court and began an appointment process prior to the election of a successor,” they write. “In all 103 cases, the President was able to both nominate and appoint a replacement Justice.”

Let’s get down to some numbers that put Senate Republicans’ judicial coup in context.

293: Number of days Republicans stonewalled President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before the Senate term expired.

103: Number of Supreme Court vacancies filled by elected presidents. That’s right, 103 in a row.

8: Vacancies filled during election year. Eight times in our history, Supreme Court vacancies occurred during an election year and the elected presidents’ nominees were approved.

6: Number of unelected presidential Supreme Court vacancy nominations denied. Supreme Court vacancies were denied when the sitting president was not elected: Vice President John Tyler’s nominations after death of President William Henry Harrison; VP Millard Fillmore’s nominations after the death of President Zachary Taylor; and VP Andrew Johnson’s nominations after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. President Obama was elected by the people, twice.

3: Lame-duck nominations denied. There were also three nominations made by sitting presidents post-election day, after the new president had been elected. John Quincy Adams tried after Andrew Jackson was elected; James Buchanan tried after Lincoln was elected; and President Hayes tried after James Garfield was elected. All were denied. President Obama made his nomination of Garland long before the election of Donald Trump.

84: Years since last election-year nomination. The last time there was a Supreme Court vacancy during an election year, President Hoover’s nomination was approved.

9,498: Average days in the tenure of recent Supreme Court justices (since 1970). That’s right, since 1970, Supreme Court justices who have retired, had tenures averaging 26.1 years. So, this is a quarter-century: a big time decision.

1,461: The number of days Democrats should be willing to wait for the Senate to approve President Obama’s rightful nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

1,151: Number of days Democrats will have to wait during Trump’s term for Republicans to respect history and the right of every elected president to fill vacancies to the Supreme Court that occur during their term. Since Republicans have invented a new, first-time-ever, no-election-year approval precedent, Democrats will only be waiting 1,151 days

2: Number of balls and ovaries most Republicans have when it comes to something as important as the next Supreme Court vacancy. Precedent be dammed, they simply were not going to allow President Obama to appoint another Supreme Court judge that could shift the court. Period. Republicans have basically said to Democrats, when we are in charge, let’s play by the rules, and when you are in charge, all is fair in love and war. Translation: our way or the highway.

Unknown: Democrat Senators with balls and ovaries. Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, when asked about the stolen Supreme Court seat, there would be some opposition to Republican nominations, but nothing near the absolute resolve expressed by Republicans.

Will Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Corey Booker, Al Franken, and the Gang of 49 step up and start the fight for our country on the steps of the Supreme Court? Will they show the toughness that Americans respect from their leaders? (Voters care a lot more about conviction than facts and policy.) Will they say enough is enough?

The Big Picture: Judicial Coup

The Senate should approve Obama’s rightful nominee, and respect 200 years of history and the last 103 nominations and the rightful balance of powers. When the next Supreme Court vacancy occurs, it becomes fair to approve one of your nominees. To be clear, Democrats are not refusing to approve Republican Supreme Court vacancies, but they are now out of sequence – and when they approve ours, we will approve theirs.

And waiting an extra 1,000 days, for a decision that will last 26 years, is not a problem. We’ll wait. The importance of this decision cannot be overstated.

Short of devastating Obamacare, climate legislation, or World War III, this quite simply may be the biggest decision Democrats make during the Trump term. Republicans ignore history, put their boots on Democrats’ necks, and stall a rightful nomination for 293 days, and then fully expect Democrats to bend over, start playing by the rules again and approve their nomination?

Two wrongs don’t make a right, you say? You got it wrong. I am not suggesting Democrats refuse to approve a Trump nominee, when a Trump Supreme Court vacancy exists. I am simply saying, Republicans must fill the seat that is rightfully in the hands of President Obama, before that can happen. The only time in our history when an elected presidents’ nominations were denied, were when they were made after the new president was elected. Not relevant this time.

President Obama’s pick still must be defended.

Yes, Democrats have rejected nominees. But when a nominee was rejected, the elected president always had time to make a second appointment, and the elected president always had one of his appointments approved—103 times in a row. If Republicans don’t like Merrick Garland, vote him down.

Want to win back some Trump Democrats? Democratic senators can start by showing some gumption, some resolve, and some principles. History is on your side. Be tough and regain some respect in the heartland.

IMAGE: President Barack Obama (L) announces Judge Merrick Garland (R) as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, March 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



  1. Godzilla February 1, 2017

    Facts matter, unless your a Liberal who believes this BS from Alternet’

    There have been 25 times in our history where a SCOTUS was nominated in the last year of a Presidency. Of those 6 have been confirmed. Four of the six were confirmed when the Congress had the majority party of the President. Too bad Liberals continue to lie to those who read here…DISGRACEFUL LIARS!

    1. awakenaustin February 1, 2017


      1. Thoughtopsy February 2, 2017

        Dumbzilla doesn’t need sources… he has the vast and overwhelming sense of his own opinion being absolute truth.
        That is why you see him prepared to go up against scholars in the field with his unsupported opinion…. and yet supply nothing but his angry breathing noises as he drools over the keyboard as his “evidence”.

    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 1, 2017

      Thanks, Putin. I’ll take 50 for “Poor Assumptions and Obfuscation”, Alex.

    3. Thoughtopsy February 2, 2017

      Wow you can still type?
      I thought your brain had long since rotted away.
      Use it or lose it, as they say…

    4. PrecipitousDrop February 2, 2017

      Aw, gee…
      The Tiny-Japanese-Man-In-A-Lizard-Suit disputes the text. Again.
      Yet he offers no support for his dispute. Again.
      Oh, well.
      These are the Tiny-Japanese-Man-In-A-Lizard-Suit’s Rules. He is the Umpire. And the Referee. And the Line Judge.
      He likes to play with himself. Even when he disagrees.

  2. Just A Citizen February 1, 2017

    Another important number. The number of times Harry Reid and other Dems kicked sand in McConnells face. Beginning with Mr. O’s declaration of “I won, get over it”.

    Nobody seems to understand that this kind of behavior can add up to unexpected things down the road. They only want to focus on how they (Dems) are going to get even. The Dems forget they started this war when then destroyed Bork’s nomination.

    1. awakenaustin February 1, 2017

      1987 – wow. You do carry a grudge.

      1. Just A Citizen February 1, 2017

        Why do you have to point to me? I was explaining how this started. And how the Dem. Leadership pretends the past has no bearing. It does. And they started this mess with the way they went after Reagan’s administration and how they went after Judge Bork. With only a few exceptions it has been escalating each cycle ever since.

        And Harry Reid’s behavior the past 8 years I believe had a lot to do with why McConnell said no to the SCOTUS hearings. He had had enough. Just as Orin Hatch exclaimed this morning. Hatch would have sided with the Dems on a SCOTUS vote if not too far left. I doubt he will any longer after the stunt they pulled on the committee vote.

        The Dem vs. Rep grudge match reminds me of the Israeli vs. Palestinian grudge match.

        You started it. No, you started it. We were here first. We were here before that.

        At some point it either explodes or implodes. But it cannot go on forever.

        1. jmprint February 2, 2017

          You sound like a kid: “You started it.” I guess that’s why you voted for trumpf, he fits your mentality.

        2. dpaano February 3, 2017

          Do your homework….Bork was NOT thrown out because of his views…..he was not nominated because he was totally unqualified!!! Check the facts!

          1. Just A Citizen February 3, 2017


            He was nominated. Check your facts.

            He was as qualified as many others nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court.

            In fact, there are not qualification requirements for the job.

    2. FireBaron February 2, 2017

      Robert Bork was acknowledged as the least qualified candidate to the court in the post WW2 era. His background was NOT Constitution Law but Tort Law.

      1. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

        Least qualified? Doubtful.

        He was rejected because of his hard originalist views. But it was not his rejection that set the R’s off. It was the personal character assassination and the vitriol from the left.

        This extended to how Reagan’s cabinet was treated as well.

    3. fredoandme February 2, 2017

      stop being silly.

        1. fredoandme February 3, 2017

          do you actually think any of that is going to change my mind?

          i’d tell you to think again, but……

          1. Maxximiliann February 3, 2017

            I am very much aware that it has no effect on noetical bigots and other such fanatics.

          2. fredoandme February 3, 2017

            then why do you bother?


            also, one is either aware or unaware. only someone with a sub-par education would write “i am very much aware.” such a person mistakenly thinks that kind of thing gives them an air of erudition or a position on the moral high ground, when, in fact, it’s a dead giveaway of the opposite.



          3. Maxximiliann February 4, 2017

            You had me worried there for a second. I thought you were about to present a cohesive and cogent refutation backed by some actual evidence. As it turns out, all you did was prattle nana nana pooh pooh

          4. fredoandme February 4, 2017

            i am now going to do to you what you fear most.

          5. dpaano February 6, 2017

            Hopefully, you’re going to do the same as I do with all these Putin-paid trolls….I block them. If no one responds to their idiotic posts, they might go away!!! Well, we can always hope!

          6. fredoandme February 6, 2017

            block him?!?!?

            wouldn’t dreeeeeeeeeeeem of it. he can respond til he drops, but i won’t ever, ever respond to him. i will, of course, talk about him behind his back.


          7. dpaano February 6, 2017

            How OLD are you, for pete’s sake?

        2. fredoandme February 3, 2017

          and now i see that you’re a stalker.

          not surprised.

    4. stcroixcarp February 2, 2017

      Bork reallly needed to be rejected.

      1. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

        Not at all.

    5. dpaano February 3, 2017

      Uhh, I believe it was 45’s declaration “I won, get over it!!” I don’t think that President Obama EVER said that!!!

      1. Just A Citizen February 3, 2017


        He did. At the first bipartisan meeting with Republicans. They tried to explain some ideas they had on health care, etc. He shut them down.

        Probably per advice of Harry Reid. Go back and check newspaper reports of that period.

        1. dpaano February 6, 2017

          Unless you were there in person, I don’t think you can ACTUALLY attest to what exactly was said. Newspapers, on occasion, have misread or taken out of context many things said by our politicians!

          1. Just A Citizen February 6, 2017


            Well then I guess virtually everything reported by the media and all opinions by us peons are useless. Because in the end they all depend on second hand knowledge.

            Mr. Obama’s comment was reported by several people attending. Along with how angry McConnell got over the President’s attitude.

            The only thing I do not know is Harry Reid’s involvement. Because the attitude shown was more in line with his than the one Obama expressed during the campaign.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 1, 2017

    The article clearly indicates that one Party in particular has acted like a den of gangsters over the past decade or more intent on changing the rules to suit their selfish agendas.
    Such arrogance and hypocrisy of the GOP seems to be an inbred quality, like some deviant political gene being propagated into the character of each incoming crop of weeds representing an unrepentant band of misfits, just serving in Congress to keep themselves comfortably employed by whatever means it takes to stay in power.

    Very ignoble and un-Christian.

    1. jmprint February 2, 2017

      I have yet to find one christian thing about them.

  4. bobnstuff February 2, 2017

    Trump my end up bringing piece to the fights in Congress by being a common enemy. When you have a President as unstable as Trump congress may just start working together to put a stop to the foolishness. The Republicans have stabbed the Democrats in the back more times in resent history but the democrats are not without sin. It looks like Trumps Honeymoon is over and those Republicans who didn’t support his candidacy won’t give his blind support to his presidency.

    1. plc97477 February 2, 2017

      I am wracking my brain but just can’t come up with any reason for your “both sides” comment maybe you could give us an example.

    2. jmprint February 2, 2017

      They won’t, and that’s ok, because trumpf will drive the clowns of the cliff.

    3. dpaano February 3, 2017

      They will if they are up for re-election in 2018. They aren’t going to do anything against 45 that would cause him to ruin their chances for re-election, trust me on this one!!! But, there are a few, like McCain, who won’t be up for re-election until AFTER 45’s first term…..ones like McCain can fight the good fight!!! There HAS to be a few more moderate, intelligent Republican senators in the Congress that don’t agree with 45’s actions and realize the chaos he’s causing and the problems it’s causing this nation!!!

      1. PrecipitousDrop February 3, 2017

        Your faith is inspiring.

        1. dpaano February 6, 2017

          Hey, I’ve got to hang on to what little hope there is!!! From what I’ve been reading in the paper, 45 is now not only pissing off our foreign allies, but he’s pissing off the Republicans in Congress! He forgets that he’s not CEO and can’t just willy nilly do whatever he wants (even with an EO). He has Congress and the Supreme Court to keep him in line! I just keep being an optimist because there’s nothing else out there!

          1. PrecipitousDrop February 6, 2017

            “…nothing else out there” dpaano?
            Au contraire, mon amie!
            Citizens are the Fourth Branch of our government. We vote with our ballots in elections. We vote with our wallets — and we have tremendous economic power — when we boycott the advertisers of racist, bigoted publications and broadcasters. We vote with our voices when we protest bigoted, disastrous executive orders and pending legislation — congressional leaders now admit they are distressed. And we vote with our feet when we vacate states, campuses — and tax bases — that do not honor public education, women’s comprehensive healthcare, or responsible aid to children, the unemployed, the disabled, and the elderly.
            There is much we can do to assure stronger unity and continued progressive goals. We just need to get back in the habit of doing it.

          2. dpaano February 8, 2017

            Agreed, and I do this. I will not go into a Papa John’s, a Hobby Lobby, a Chik-Fil-A, or even Wal-marts. If I know these places supported 45, then I’m not supporting them. Unfortunately, I am somewhat disabled with a bad knee and can’t go to marches, but I support them as a member of the Long Beach Democratic Club. Trust me, I do whatever I can, along with trying to keep optimistic!!!

  5. Eleanore Whitaker February 2, 2017

    There was another hidden reason the Republican Regime refused Obama the right every president has had to make SC appointments. The Koch Boys knew Merrick would have opened up the case against “dark money.” That’s why the Republicans fought like hell to refuse Merrick or any judge who would dare to upset the dirty money that has so disgustingly infiltrated the Republican Party.

    The problem now is twofold:
    1. The Republicans act now as if PARTY IS GOVERNMENT. We know it isn’t.
    2. Trump has so badly damaged our American democracy that even Americans who seek refuge will be denied entry into other countries. So we can’t leave and if we stay, we know there will be bloodshed in the streets.

    How dare any right wing Republican use Senate and House Majority to deny a Democratic President what ALL presidents have had the right to do? They dare alright. They dare because Republicans have sunk so low into a pit of slime with dark money and election rigging that it is imperative for them to have total control over the House, Senate, Executive and Judicial Branches of government.

    They know that a Democratic upset would mean an endless, interminal run of investigations in the actions of their party and just might mean the party would be disbanded for tyranny and treason.

    What they want is for us to all pretend it is okay for them to use a foreign government’s influence in elections. After all, isn’t that how they used the SC to get Bush elected twice?

    They must now control the government and the people. When PARTY is the only ID for government, it is government based on the Constitutional rights of individuals? Or as Gorsuch ruled in the Hobby Lobby case, “corporations are people” and therefore have the right to deny business to anyone not of their religious or gender preference.

    Face facts people. You don’t have a government. You have a PARTY with a leader who has so badly damaged our relationships with the outside world that at any minute now North Korea or Iran may take that Big Mouth Trump’s brazen, ruthless combatant attitude and incinerate our kids. Thank the right wingers for that.

    1. mike February 2, 2017

      Your brain continues to spew diarrhea.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker February 3, 2017

        Your problem is premature ejaculation of the brain. But you are in great company…That’s the Big Mouth Trump’s problem too and why he won’t last another 2 months. Do get help for your premature ejaculation problem MIkkeeeeeee

  6. rednekokie February 2, 2017

    The main problem here, as I see it, is that the Senate simply did not do their job. Their obligation is to advise and consent (or not consent, as their thinking demands). They did neither of those. They ignored and refused to consider. That, in itself, is unconstitutional.
    They did not do their job when the President did his.
    For this act alone, they have forever lost my vote in any circumstance, barring the complete renovation and repopulating of the republican party.

    1. itsfun February 2, 2017

      There is no timeframe in the Constitution telling the Senate how soon they must have a hearing on confirmation. They were never going to approve Garland, so why waste the time and money.

      1. jmprint February 2, 2017

        SO then why the fuss, let’s just wait four more years.

        1. itsfun February 2, 2017

          okay with me

  7. itsfun February 2, 2017

    Garland was never going to be approved by the Senate. Why waste the time and money on a useless event. The Senate did what Joe Biden has recommend when he was in the Senate. It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court Justice has been approved in the last year of a lame duck President. The new man will be appointed even if the Senate has to use the nuclear option.

    1. mike February 2, 2017

      Schumer expressed the same view as Biden. “It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not–and not–name a nominee until after the November election is complete.”

    2. jmprint February 2, 2017

      Itsfun, you don’t have to act like Kellyanne Conway. We know that the laws and the constitution don’t apply to the republicans, as they think they are above the law and better then anyone else on earth.

      1. itsfun February 2, 2017

        Don’t you mean Obama and Hillary?

  8. 788eddie February 2, 2017

    There should be no consideration of any Supreme Court candidate at this time for Donald J. Trump is a lame duck; we should wait until “the people decide” after the next election.

    1. dpaano February 3, 2017

      And, if we’re lucky, that won’t be long! He may leave before his term is up….who knows?

      1. 788eddie February 3, 2017

        From your lips to our Lord’s ears!

  9. dpaano February 3, 2017

    What is clearly ridiculous is that Republicans should have voted on Garland and accepted him….he was a fairly moderate judge and was liked by both sides. After all, even if Garland had been accepted, we can expect one or at least two judges to retire in the next couple of years, which would give the Republicans a LEGAL means of nominating a couple of Supreme Court judges. They would have been ahead anyway! I guess their goal is the fill the court with conservatives so that Democrats NEVER have a say in anything!

    1. MJ Hoop February 6, 2017

      Yep. Right on,.

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