As well he should. And without the Republicans behaving like relentless assholes.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, published under the blunt headline "For the good of the country, stop your nakedly partisan obstruction," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid takes the Republicans to task for their bullshit:
We are entering uncharted waters in the history of the U.S. system of checks and balances, with potentially momentous consequences. Having gridlocked the Senate for years, Republicans now want to gridlock the Supreme Court with a campaign of partisan sabotage aimed at denying the president's constitutional duty to pick nominees.There is much more at the link.
Republicans should not insult the American people's intelligence by pretending there is historical precedent for what they are about to do. There is not.
The Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominees both in election years and in the last year of a presidency — as recently as 1988, a presidential election year when a Democratic Senate confirmed President Ronald Reagan's nomination of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in the final year of his administration. My colleague and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was a member of the Judiciary Committee then and voted to confirm Kennedy. More recently, Sen. Grassley stated, "The reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president's term." That is true.
For his part, my counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on Saturday called for the American people to have a "voice" in this process. Their voice was heard loud and clear when they elected and reelected President Obama, twice handing him the constitutional power to nominate Supreme Court justices.
That is how our system works and has worked for more than 200 years. Until now, even through all the partisan battles of recent decades, the Senate's constitutional duty to give a fair and timely hearing and a floor vote to the president's Supreme Court nominees has remained inviolable. This Republican Senate would be the first in history to abdicate that vital duty.
As Spandan Chakrabarti wisely notes, the Republicans' obstructionism may well play right into President Obama's hands: "Republicans have already helpfully handed the President all he needs to paint their opposition to his eventual nominee as political and not substantive with their incredibly shortsighted to demand right away that President Obama stay away from nominating a new Justice. There is no way they can stop the president from exercising his Constitutional power, and because they have shown their hands early, the President and Harry Reid can easily frame any Republican attack against his inevitable nominee as spite rather than any serious concern on jurisprudence."
Which frees up the President to nominate a legitimate progressive, rather than a consensus candidate. And I certainly hope he will exploit this opportunity and nominate a known progressive to the Court.
There are a number of lists of potential and/or likely nominees. [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Here is one of those lists, featuring ten possibilities. Some of them are certainly more progressive than others.
While immediate reports suggested that Sri Srinivasan, a moderate whose personal views are largely unknown, would get the nomination, now a number of experts are saying they believe Attorney General Loretta Lynch will get the nomination.
I have no guesses. I just hope that the President will go for it. The Republicans are going to be jerks either way, and they've undermined their own credibility (such as it is) to object on issues of jurisprudence, so there's no reason not to try to swing the Court in our favor.
After all, that's what we elected him to do.