Franken Blasts GOP Refusal To Consider Any Supreme Court Nominee


I rise today to address the recent vacancy
on the United States Supreme Court, and to urge my colleagues to grant swift consideration
of the President’s eventual nominee. Make no mistake, Mr. President, the passing
of Justice Antonin Scalia came as a great shock. Though Justice Scalia and I did not
share a common view of the Constitution or the country, I recognize that he was a man
of great conviction and, it should be said, a man of great humor. My thoughts and prayers
are with his family, his friends, his clerks, and his colleagues.
  But Mr. President, we must now devote ourselves
to the task of helping to select his successor. The Constitution so beloved by Justice Scalia
provides that the President, quote “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent
of the Senate, shall appoint Judges of the Supreme Court.” Let us all remember that
each and every senator serving in this body swore an oath to support and defend that same
Constitution. It is our duty to move forward. We must fulfill our constitutional obligation
to ensure that the highest court in the land has a full complement of justices. Unfortunately, it would seem that some of
my colleagues on the other side of the aisle do not agree—and they wasted no time in
making known their objections. Less than an hour after news of Justice Scalia’s death
became public, the Majority Leader announced that the Senate would not take up the business
of considering a replacement until after the presidential election. Quote, “[t]he American
people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” he
said. The only problem with the Majority Leader’s
reasoning, Mr. President, is that the American people have spoken. Twice. President Barack
Obama was elected and reelected by a solid majority of the American people who correctly
understood that elections have consequences, not the least of which is that when a vacancy
occurs, the President of United States has the constitutional responsibility to appoint
a justice to the Supreme Court. The Constitution does not set a time limit on the President’s
ability to fulfill this duty. Nor, by my reading, does the Constitution set a date after which
the President is no longer able to fulfill his duties as Commander in Chief, or to exercise
his authority to, say, grant pardons or make treaties. It merely states that the President
shall hold office for a term of four years. And by my count, there are in the neighborhood
of 11 months left.  
If we were to truly subscribe to the Majority Leader’s logic and extend it to the legislative
branch, it would yield an absurd result. Senators would become ineffective in the last year
of their term. The 28 senators who are now in the midst of their reelection campaigns
and the 6 senators who are stepping down should be precluded from casting votes in committee
or on the Senate floor. Ten committee chairs and 19 subcommittee chairs should pass the
gavel to a colleague who is not currently running for reelection or preparing for retirement.
Bill introduction, and indeed the cosponsorship of bills, should be limited to those senators
who are not yet serving in the sixth year of their terms. If the Majority Leader sincerely
believes that the only way to ensure that the voice of the American people is heard
is to lop off the last year of an elected official’s term, I trust he will make these
changes.  
But I suspect he does not. Rather, it seems to me that the Majority Leader believes that
the term of just one elected official in particular should be cut short. Which begs the question,
Mr. President, just how short should it be cut? As I said, by my count, approximately
11 months remain in Barack Obama’s presidency. 11. Now, 11 months is a considerable amount
of time. Sizable. It has heft, to be sure, but I wouldn’t call it vast. Then again,
there’s a certain arbitrariness to settling on 11 months. After all, it’s just shy of
a full year. Perhaps, in order to simplify matters, an entire year would be preferable.
Or maybe just six months—half a year. It’s a difficult decision, Mr. President. If only
the American people had a voice in selecting precisely how much time we should shave off
the President’s term.  
Now that I mention it, there is a way to give the American people a voice in this decision.
The Majority Leader could propose a constitutional amendment. It would of course have to pass
both Houses of Congress with a two-thirds majority, but that’s not an insurmountable
obstacle. Provided it clears Congress, the amendment would then bypass the President,
which in this case is very apt, and be sent to the states for their ratification. So if
the Majority Leader truly wants the voters to decide how best to proceed, our founding
document provides a way forward.  
But Mr. President, suggesting that the Senate should refuse to consider a nominee during
an election year stands as a cynical affront to our constitutional system—and it misrepresents
our history. The Senate has a long tradition of working to confirm Supreme Court justices
in election years. One need look no further than sitting Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy,
a Supreme Court nominee appointed by a Republican President and confirmed by a Democratic Senate
in 1988, President Reagan’s last year in office. So when I hear one of my colleagues
say that, quote “it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme
Court nominees during a presidential election year,” I know that’s not true.
  And I’m not the only one. The fact-checking
publication Politifact recently observed that, quote “[s]hould Republican lawmakers refuse
to begin the process of confirming a…nomination, it would be the first time in modern history.”
SCOTUSblog, an indisputable authority on all matters related to the Court, confirmed that
the, quote “historical record does not reveal any instances [in over a century] of the … Senate
failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election.” The fact of the matter is that there is
a bipartisan tradition of giving full and
fair consideration to Supreme Court nominees. Since the Judiciary Committee began to hold
hearings in 1916, every pending Supreme Court nominee save 9 has received a hearing. And
you know what happened to those 9 nominees? They were confirmed within 11 days of being
nominated. In 2001, during the first administration of President George W. Bush, then-Judiciary
Committee Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Hatch sent a letter to their Senate colleagues
making clear that the Committee would continue its longstanding, bipartisan practice of moving
pending Supreme Court nominees to the full Senate, even when the nominees were opposed
by a majority of the Committee.  
But regrettably, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are leaving that long tradition
behind. Yesterday, every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter
to the Majority Leader vowing to deny a hearing to the President’s eventual nominee. “This
Committee,” they wrote, “will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until
after our next President is sworn in on January 20, 2017.” Mr. President, this marks an
historic dereliction of the Senate’s duty and a radical departure not just from our
Committee’s past traditions, but from its current practices.
  I know that my good friend Chairman Grassley
cares a great deal about maintaining the legacy of the Judiciary Committee and the propriety
of its proceedings. Under his leadership, we’ve seen the Committee put country before
party and move consensus, bipartisan proposals. And I had hoped that Chairman Grassley would
approach the task of confirming our next Supreme Court justice with the same sense of fairness
and integrity. I still hope that. But I was very disappointed to learn that yesterday,
Chairman Grassley gathered only Republican Committee members in a private meeting where
they unilaterally decided, behind closed doors, to refuse consideration of a nominee. The
decision to foreclose even holding a hearing for a nominee to our nation’s highest court
is shameful, M. PRESIDENT, and I suspect that the American people share that view.
  The Supreme Court is a central pillar of our
democracy. The women and men who sit on that bench make decisions that touch the lives
of every single American—regardless of party or political persuasion. Now the Senate must
do the same. We must honor our solemn duty to uphold the Constitution, and to ensure
Americans seeking justice are able to have their day in court—before a full bench of
nine justices. I urge my colleagues to reject the impulse
to put politics before our sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. Thank you.

46 Responses

  1. rextrek says:

    our govt has devolved to nonsense  – thanks to the obstruction GOP assholes

  2. rextrek says:

    tell tho Mofo GOP nitwits – they couldn't PAY me to Vote for them!    we all know they are doing this to Obama cause he's BLACK>>>>>>>>period / full STOP!

  3. rextrek says:

    Mr Frankin – you are TOO kind to those JAGOFFS!

  4. Doug Kennedy says:

    same thing biden did in early 90's. what goes around comes around.

  5. shsfresh87 says:

    so just like how Obama and the other Democrats tried to filibuster President George W. Bush's nominee?

  6. wordpressobsessed says:

    This is hilarious how liberal Democrats like Franken and Schumer are now wrapping themselves around the Constitution, after trashing it every chance they get for the last 8 years. They have clearly defined the word "hypocrite" over the last week.

  7. iconaclastor says:

    totally blows one mind this guy got elected. What are people smoking?

  8. fakshen1973 says:

    Well of course the GOPtards are blocking this. They don't give a shit about the Constitution or actually doing their job. Though I bet we'll get in another Benghazi hearing before the end of the year. They've set their priorities. There is no bottom to how low they will sink… all the time claiming that they are "patriots." They are nothing of the sort. They are cowards and bottom feeders sucking on the dick of large campaign contributors. Liars and thieves. But hey, when you have the IQ of a tree stump, you'll vote for them.

  9. Kath Casey says:

    I've always loved Al Franklin! Thanks for posting!

  10. Caroline Corman says:

    The GOPers talk constitution, they just do not think it applies to them.

  11. lunhil12 says:

    What is McConnell trying to pull, a senatorial coup? We have a system of three branches of government that elected officials have sworn to uphold. By this decision to refuse to do their job they risk destroying our American system of government.

  12. Demetrios Mustakas Jr. says:

    I rise to address the fact that things are going on that I can try to jump in to since I have nothing going on and this will probably be my last term…….. too many legislators looking for an excuse for some screen time.

  13. xlfutur1 says:

    I believe it was Chuck Schumer and the Democrats that called for George Bush to not nominate any supreme court justices for 18 months until he left office. Don't these guys realize that everything they did and said a few years ago during the Bush administration is on video? Dummies.

  14. Gwen DeKoning says:

    Franklin wasn't a good comedian, and he's an even worse excuse for a Senatoir! He cheated his way to office, and he continues to prove his illegitimacy!

  15. Ruth Walker says:

    According the Senator Grassley's view, he should recuse himself from all Senate business until the next election!

  16. vdarte says:

    What do you expect from McConnell. The first thing he pledged upon Obama's election was that he should be a one term president. Well, the people felt otherwise, but even so, this old Kentucky turtle is still doing everything he can to spite the President. He has brought himself, the senate, the republican party, and the nation to a new low.

  17. IRON PATRIOT says:

    You are witnessing the end of our constitution…!!!

  18. Bill McGinley says:

    6:03 is what is known as (this is for our viewers on the "right") a punch line.

  19. Condor Corner says:

    Frankie says election have consequences and he is right. The people elected a Republican Majority to the Senate in 2014.
    Frankie says the constitution does not set a time limit on the president to act, and he is right. The constitution does not set a time limit on the Senate to act either.
    Frankie claims are Republicans going against senate rule, but how about Democrats ignoring the senate rules to eliminating the filibusters on executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments?

    Republicans are trying to insure the Supreme Court stays the same, a Moderate court. You had:
    3 conservatives: Scalia, Thomas, Alito.
    2 Moderates: Kennedy, Roberts.
    4 Liberals: Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotamayor, Kagan

  20. Misti Preston says:

    Im so happy that the huy obama pick for supreme court justice judge has gotten blocked. Do you people not understand what obamas trying to do? He wants to take our guns so they can make us a police state,or muslim state. obama is evil and I wouldnt doubt it it he dont try to pull executive power again on gun control. Like Trump said"You take the guns from the good law abiding citizens and the bad guys have gun shooting targets. left side is evil and there out for money and power . There all endorsed by George Soros. what a quack job. Wake up people before its to late. imagine everyone without guns to protect themselves. we would all be screwed.

  21. Bud Fields says:

    Every second this Senate obstructs the working of American democracy, not only do they presume that taking a dump on the Constitution is their prerogative, but they also demean and disregard the honorable service and dedication of the Justice they would presume to replace. If anyone in the Senate believes their intransigence and, quite frankly, their sedition will not be noticed and responded to by the citizens of America, they are fatefully mistaken. This is an unnecessary and vulgar act of insurrection to the Constitution of the United States of America; it is politicization of the Constitution and willing refusal to uphold their sworn oath to it. It is also complete obscenity to the spirit of democracy.

  22. Stu Bee says:

    The Senate refusing out right and by group decision behind closed doors is Conspiracy to usurp the Constitution is High Treason and to act on it is Mutiny. There is only one punishment.

  23. Logic Time says:

    Shut up Al and obey the Biden rule on naming SCOUTS justices in an election year.

  24. Eric Wyatt says:

    Who is that cute assistant?

  25. irgski says:

    The GOP should just "mirror" what the Dems did to Bork during his confirmation. Invoke the "Senators Biden and Obama" rule!

  26. irgski says:

    51% is not a "clear majority" Sen.Frankin!

  27. jackchorn says:

    I the near future- All the Justices start to die from mysterious deaths. The Republicans with the presidency and majority take a bold move and place young teenagers into the seats to guarantee they will hold the SC for many -many years and the children in the court will do exactly what they are told.

  28. Jason F. says:

    Fucking jew.

  29. John Smith says:

    I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me

  30. Dr. Zippy Mcscoots says:

    The Constitution says that a president appoints with the advice and consent of congress. Ok does that mean that those congressmen have to be equally conservative and liberal or are there just a certain number of congressmen required for the appointment? If not why not just get enough democrats together and accept the nominee regardless of the actions of the other party?

  31. bootlegger 23 says:

    I believe that Sen. Franken has evolved into a true Statesman, as apposed to being just another modern-era politician.He strikes me as being a reasonable and level – headed man who places great value on the constitutional principles upon which our nation was founded. AND , he is VERY funny.

  32. fosbury68 says:

    Republicans hate Obama more than they love the country and its constitution. All I can say is they should be careful what they wish for. They could very well end up having to confirm justice Obama, nominated by President Clinton.

  33. Linda Margaret Falaschetti says:

    Love Al cant say more because somebody keeps obstructing my comment

  34. Linda Margaret Falaschetti says:

    They're pist cause we blocked the W

  35. dapper dog says:

    Wow he's good

  36. David Levine says:

    so well spoken and stated. his delivery of the message and its truths is spot on.

  37. D says:

    When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.

  38. SwirlyJoe says:

    I really hope Al Franken runs for president in 2020. I'd really like to see him debate trump or Pence

  39. Herc Engineer says:

    A comedian on a judiciary committee….a joke just like he is

  40. souris verte says:

    best senator ever

  41. Hogman Go says:

    Any Democrat in Washington that helps Trump place anyone on the Supreme Court should be shot as capitulating traitor!!!!

  42. David Adams says:

    this idiot isn't a politician, he's a washed out comedian!¡!!!!

  43. John Shedlock says:

    Kill a judge well loved, Karma is a bitch…For all you liberal obammy lovers , go read the biden bill..They pulled this on bush..Refused to confirm Bushs appointments…

  44. James Fisher says:

    Where in the Constitution is "a full complement of judges" mentioned, let alone defined? Is there a specific number given? If either is true, how was F.D.R. able to threaten to "pack the Court" with as many judges as necessary to fulfill his agenda? Is a specific time limit cited by the Constitution? If so, what is the time frame? Franken is exposing his complete hypocrisy here. While he pushes a "constitutional" agenda that doesn't exist, he totally ignores the Constitution when it comes to voting FOR laws which are totally, blatantly unConstitutional. Maybe he should keep his mouth shut until he takes a crash course on the Constitution. He was a comic before he ran for the Senate, and he's still doing standup in front of that body and proving that he's still a clown.

  45. Bernard E. Scoville says:

    Since JFK was murdered (11/22/1963), the militarism he was starting to oppose has GROWN and GROWN. The US now has military forces in 70% of the world's countries. There is almost no transparency and control. In a "democracy".

    President Kennedy died for this country, the USA, trying to bring it and the world to peace. Our Establishment killed him and blamed it on Oswald. We have still not faced this truth in our history.

    He could not have been murdered by a single shooter; shots came in more than one direction, as MANY eyewitnesses testified. Parkland Hospital doctors in Dallas, who tried to save the President, unanimously testified to an entry wound in the throat and a baseball sized exit wound in the back of the head. Parkland Hospital doctors wanted to perform an autopsy, but the Secret Service forcefully took President Kennedy's body at gunpoint to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where (after secret operations) military doctors (Naval) released autopsies that said all the gunshot wounds came from the back.

    President Kennedy was murdered by the Establishment – including probably the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, Oil Interests, LBJ, George Herbert Walker Bush, and others. The murder by multiple shooters was blamed on Oswald. A BAD scene, our media and politicians won’t even let us know who took away our democracy by killing our president. And our media and politicians won’t even honestly discuss this.

    America should know, face, and learn from its history.

    My website related to this: http://investigate-jfk-murder.org/ My MoveOn petition to honestly investigate the President Kennedy murder and its cover-up: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/honestly-investigate . Please sign my petition!

  46. Irene Bersuker says:

    Franken,drop dead,Bolshevik's bastard!

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