The Buzz

President Obama’s desire to pick next justice picks up significant p.r. boost

President Barack Obama had a good day Monday when it came to his push to get the Senate to consider his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Republican, told David Axelrod in his latest episode of “The Axe Files” podcast that he “probably would’ve handled it differently.”

“My attitude, particularly on Supreme Court, was that elections do have consequences, sometimes bad, and I tried to lean towards being supportive of the president’s nominees, Democrat or Republican,” Lott said.

Meantime, more than 350 law professors and legal scholars wrote a letter to the Senate leadership of both parties urging them “to fulfill your constitutional duty to give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a prompt and fair hearing and a timely vote.”

The professors counter arguments made by Republican senators that the Senate has no obligation to consider the president’s nominee in an election year.

“This preemptive abdication of duty is contrary to the process the framers envisioned in Article II, and threatens to diminish the integrity of our democratic institutions and the functioning of our constitutional government,” the professors wrote.

“There is no exception to the Constitution holding that the president lacks the authority or duty to appoint justices to the Supreme Court because he is in the last year of his presidency.

“In fact, six justices have been confirmed in presidential-election years since 1900, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Republican-appointee Anthony Kennedy, who was confirmed by a Democratically-controlled Senate during President Ronald Reagan’s last year in office.”