Attorney General Loretta Lynch May Be Obama's Top Choice – And Best Prospect For Getting Confirmed
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In a normal world where Republicans were not dedicated to blocking every move of a Black president, it would be easy for Barack Obama to choose a progressive replacement for the now vacant seat formerly held by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but this is not a normal world.
The Senate Majority Leader has vowed to not even take up any nominee President Obama puts forth – something stunningly without precedent. The U.S. Constitution mandates the President choose a nominee, and the Senate shall offer "advice and consent" on that nominee:
"...he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States..."
Meanwhile, in today's world, President Obama must choose a nominee who would easily get confirmed, and a nominee who will not give the GOP any reason to automatically disqualify them.
That nominee must also be someone who would cause outrage if the Republicans in the Senate stick to their vows of not allowing Obama to fulfill his constitutional duty.
Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog, the top authority on all things related to the Supreme Court, says Attorney General Loretta Lynch is the most likely candidate for President Obama to choose. Unfortunately, he also says he believes "Republicans will eventually permit the nomination to proceed on the merits and reject it on party lines." In other words, given the GOP majority in the Senate, she will not be confirmed.
Goldstein stresses, contrary to the GOP's fictitious claim, "there is no genuine precedent for refusing to act on a Supreme Court nomination because of an impending presidential election."
Senate confirmed 17 SCOTUS justices in election yr. Most voted on within months. GOP says we can't do that no more pic.twitter.com/NmWs0McDGm— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) February 14, 2016
He goes on to state, "Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who is fifty-six, is a very serious possibility. She is known and admired within the administration."
And Goldstein believes that Lynch's very recent vetting "for attorney general also makes it practical for the president to nominate her in relatively short order."
There is some imperative to move quickly, because each passing week strengthens the intuitive appeal of the Republican argument that it is too close to the election to confirm the nominee. Conversely, a nomination that is announced quickly allows Democrats to press the bumper sticker point that Republicans would leave the Supreme Court unable to resolve many close cases for essentially “a year.”
He concludes, "I think the administration would relish the prospect of Republicans either refusing to give Lynch a vote or seeming to treat her unfairly in the confirmation process. Either eventuality would motivate both black and women voters."
It's going to be a battle of epic proportions.