Prominently conservative US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke out strongly this week against the Senate Republicans who continue to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia.
Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill Scalia’s seat months ago, but leading Senate Republicans almost immediately jumped on the notion that, according to some completely precedent lacking but convenient notion, Obama should not be the one to fill Scalia’s seat since the election, and thus the next beginning of the next presidency, is so soon.
The Republicans responsible for the obstructionism likely initially based their policy on a hope that a Republican would win the White House.
Such a hope is fine and dandy, but Obama’s tenure isn’t over yet, no matter how much Republicans would like it to be. He is still the president, and it is still the president’s responsibility to fill vacant seats on the Supreme Court.
Thomas made his remarks against the obstructionist behavior of Republicans in the US Senate while delivering the ninth Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture, which, according to The Hill, is “a [lecture] series named after the youngest justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court when appointed by President James Madison in 1812.”
Thomas was responding to a question about whether or not he has any hope for the confirmation process being salvaged any time soon when he delivered what became a biting criticism of the GOP establishment.
He began with a sort of hollow optimism, saying, “There’s always hope, but this city is broken in some ways.”
He went on to become more pointed in his remarks, saying:
‘I’ve been here now most of my life and I think that we have become very comfortable with not thinking things through and debating things. I think that we have decided that rather than confront the disagreement and differences of opinion, we’ll just simply annihilate the person who disagrees with us. I don’t think that’s going to work in a republic or a civil society. At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions and undermining our institutions.’
Thomas himself bore the brunt of a brutal confirmation hearing at the time of his nomination to the court by then president George H.W. Bush.
The difference, though, between the circumstances surrounding Thomas’s seating on the court and those surrounding Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the same is simple.
Senate Republicans have shown presently themselves completely unwilling to, as Thomas put it, do anything other than “simply annihilate” Garland since he doesn’t quite line up with their beliefs and practices.
Check out a video of Thomas’s biting remarks below.
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