Yo, Mitch McConnell - Care to explain?

Monday, February 15

Via The Washington Post's Paul Waldman, this 1970 law review article by future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has some very strong opinions about how the Senate should handle confirming nominees for the Supreme Court:

Here's the relevant section (emphasis Paul's)

What standard then can be drawn for the Senate from the experiences of the past year in advising and consenting to Presidential nominations to the Supreme Court? They have been set out above but should be reiterated in conclusion. At the outset, the Senate should discount the philosophy of the nominee. In our politically centrist society, it is highly unlikely that any Executive would nominate a man of such extreme views of the right of the left as to be disturbing to the Senate. However, a nomination, for example, of a Communist or a member of the American Nazi Parly, would have to be considered an exception to the recommendation that the Senate leave ideological considerations to the discretion of the Executive. Political and philosophical considerations were often a factor in the nineteenth century and arguably in the Parker, Haynsworth and Carswell cases also, but this is not proper and tends to degrade the Court and dilute the constitutionally proper authority of the Executive in this area. The President is presumably elected by the people to carry out a program and altering the ideological directions of the Supreme Court would seem to be a perfectly legitimate part of a Presidential platform. To that end, the Constitution gives to him the power to nominate. As mentioned earlier, if the power to nominate had been given to the Senate, as was considered during the debates at the Constitutional Convention, then it would be proper for the Senate to consider political philosophy. The proper role of the Senate is to advise and consent to the particular nomination, and thus, as the Constitution puts it, "to appoint."

This would obviously fly right in the face of McConnell's remarks on Saturday immediately following the news of the tragic passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, where he said "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

Top image via Getty

Posted by Jimmy


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