The Republican Senate declared that they would not take action on any nominee from President Obama, which lead to the typical partisan reactions. While we have come to expect such reactions, especially in an election year, we expect our media to be unbiased. The AP story GOP Senators: No hearings, No Vote is an example of the media choosing sides.
The AP, loyal propagandists that they are, took up the Democratic talking point that Republicans are engaged in unprecedented behavior.
They stated “Even the most divisive nominees for the high court have received a hearing before the judiciary committee, and the election year decision to deny such a session is a sharp break with the Senate's traditional “advise and consent” role."
Not only is the Republican strategy not a sharp break with the past, it is just following the Democrats lead. The AP neglected to mention that it was President Franklin Roosevelt who initiated the politically charged atmosphere with regards to the Supreme Court by trying to pack it with his cronies.
Furthermore, the Democrats established the political precedent of opposing lame duck Supreme Court nominees during the Eisenhower administration. They also forgot that one of those controversial nominees to receive a hearing, Robert Bork, was not confirmed by the Democrats.
In their report the AP slapped Republicans back to reality for citing a 1992 speech by Joe Biden in which he said that the Senate should “not consider holding hearings until after the election.” The Democrats hypocritical history on the matter was eagerly glossed over by the AP, who didn't even attempt to defend Bidens' words.
All they could come up with as rationale was "as it turned out, there was no opening on the court that year.”
For the AP it doesn't matter that if there was an opening on the court that year they would have blocked any nominee. Intentions don’t matter for democrats, but mean everything for republicans. it was as if they told them, "silly republicans political tricks are for democrats." while the coverage is infuriating, republicans forgetting the media double standard is just unacceptable.
This campaign issue and media blitz could have been avoided had they said the Senate would fulfill their constitutional duty of "advise and consent." They had the votes to deny confirmation to any appointee, or the power to slow down the process, to effectively run out the clock on the presidents term.
Instead, they were cast as obstructionists by the media, which hurt them in the eyes of voters. Now they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, either lose independents by holding hearings or your base by staying firm. Republicans are not known for their fortitude and cracks are already showing.
As the AP notes, "White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it is absolutely possible that hearings will be held."
Holding hearings is the beginning of the slippery slope to confirmation. If the Republicans do so they just might lose the presidency.
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