Constitutional ‘Crisis’? ‘Confusion’? Possible Court Blockade Debated

img_ct-apphoto_supreme_c_2_1_j39dsjnsGOP BLOCKADE A ‘SUPREME NIGHTMARE’ FOR CLINTON?: Less than a week before Election Day, the future of the Supreme Court as a paramount issue to be affected by both the presidential and Senate outcomes has sparked huge national media attention. Three Republican senators’ similar hints about blockading any Supreme Court nominee of Hillary Clinton, if she’s elected (see Gavel Grab), have fueled a once unthinkable scenario.

“There’s a potential nightmare for Hillary Clinton if she wins the presidency but Republicans hold onto control of the Senate — a blockade of her Supreme Court picks,” Bloomberg reported. “Democrats could circumvent a GOP blockade if they control the Senate by changing the chamber’s rules, even though that would be a controversial move. But a Republican-held Senate could deny Clinton the 60-vote margin needed to advance high-court picks on the floor.”

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina voiced support in a recorded conversation for continuing a GOP blockade of the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing if Clinton is elected and selects a nominee. “An extended vacancy like the one Burr is proposing is absolutely without precedent in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court,” The Washington Post’s Wonkblog commented. Huffington Post reported about the Heritage Foundation, “Conservative Group Raises Cash To Help GOP Senators Block Supreme Court Nominees.” McClatchy asked, “Would blocking Supreme Court judges unleash constitutional confusion?” Remarked Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress, “We may be living in the final days of the Supreme Court of the United States; Constitution, meet crisis.”

There was more coverage from The Associated Press, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and MSNBC. Meanwhile, Burr and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz were were criticized by an editorial in Burr’s home state, from The Charlotte Observer. “It is ironic – no, deceitful – that these politicians claim to be ‘constitutional conservatives’ and then eviscerate the Constitution. Article II, Section 2 says the president shall appoint Supreme Court justices with the advice and consent of the Senate,” the editorial said. “That the Senate has violated that requirement since the death of Antonin Scalia is egregious enough. That Burr and Cruz would attempt to do so for four or eight years is unconscionable.” And The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that in  emailed answers to questions on Tuesday, “Burr took a more moderate stance than he did in the recorded conversation Saturday.”

GARY JOHNSON ON SUPREME COURT PICKS: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson issued a list of his potential Supreme Court appointees, according to The Atlantic. They were Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski; Randy Barnett; Circuit Judge Janet Rogers Brown; Tom Campbell; Miguel Estrada; and Jonathan Turley.

STATE COURT ELECTIONS: “Political groups are pouring millions into state Supreme Court races,” said an Associated Press headline.