Daily Clips: February 16th, 2016

Donald Trump is fanning conspiracy theories about Scalia’s death: Yes, you read that right. The GOP frontrunner is a “conspiracy theory aficionado” of sorts, so there’s really no reason why anyone should be surprised.

A right wing radio host, Michael Savage, asked Trump about the circumstances of Scalia’s death. This is how Trump responded:

I just landed, and I’m hearing it’s a big topic — that’s the question. And it’s a horrible topic, but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can’t tell you what — I can’t give you an answer. You know usually I like to give you answers but I literally just heard it a little while ago.

Talk about politicizing a death.

The ugly political spectacle around Justice Scalia’s death: Dana Milbank, as usual, delivers his opinion with great force.

McConnell and his colleagues appear to be asserting that they won’t even consider a nominee — no hearings and no vote. This is a grim commentary on the current state of dysfunction in American government. If Republicans refuse to confirm an Obama nominee, they will almost certainly break the record for the longest vacancy on the court since the court expanded to nine members in 1869. And that delay — 391 days in 1969-1970, was because the Senate rejected two of Richard Nixon’s nominees, not because it wouldn’t take up any.

We already had an election to decide who gets to appoint the next Supreme Court justice. It was in 2012. 

Unfortunately, a strategy of obstruction without regard to consequence is not new. There are also 34 judicial nominees to other federal courts pending, including four to circuit courts of appeals. Yet no votes are scheduled, and this Senate is on pace to confirm the fewest judges in a two-year congress since 1951-52. Even in the minority, Republicans worked to block President Obama’s judicial nominees, including in 2013, when they filibustered three nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. But a stalled Supreme Court nominee would amplify scrutiny of this obstruction, and that could pressure a Republican caucus that has 24 seats up for election in November (Democrats have just 10).

Nick Cassella

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