Hewitt: The Scalia Seat

The death of the great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has opened what is sure to be one of the great political battles of recent years.

Whatever you’re political persuasion, one point needs to be understood: lame duck presidents don’t get to make successful nominations for lifetime appointments in an election year. Not in 2016. Not, in fact, for the past 80 years.

It’s that simple.

And the recent precedent was not started by Republicans.

It was started by the senior Senator from Vermont—Patrick Leahy—and his colleague, the current minority Leader Harry Reid. From 2001 to 2005 they led a blockade of dozens of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees who had the votes to be confirmed if Leahy had allowed them. And their blockade of judicial appointments began during the first year of President Bush’s first term, not at the end of a second term.

All of those stretching the facts today have to confront the Democrats undoing of all past practice with the 2001-2005 blockade.

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