Since Antonin Scalia died, Republicans in Congress have insisted that the public must “have a say” as to who should replace him. Which is to say, they think it would be unfair for President Obama to appoint a replacement since Obama is a liberal, and Scalia was not, so the Republicans would rather stall and let the next president pick the replacement.
That argument didn’t go over so well from the get-go, and was especially strained once President Obama actually announced his nominee: chief judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and judicial equivalent of a pair of pleated khakis Merrick Garland. Rather than appointing a liberal jurist, as many Republicans expected him to, Obama picked a moderate who Republicans had previously praised as a “consensus choice” on multiple occasions — essentially daring them to say yes.
They didn’t. Instead, they have asserted principle to argue that, regardless as to Garland’s qualifications, the American people need to “have a say” before any nominee can be considered. Only a handful of Republicans have said they would even meet with Garland, which is now considered a remarkable concession.
Well, Monmouth University just gave the American people a say, and the American people aren’t buying the Republicans’ argument.
As they report in their poll’s summary, “The American public feels that a president’s Supreme Court nominations should be taken up by the U.S. Senate no matter when they occur, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll. Specifically, two-thirds say that Pres. Obama’s recent nomination deserves a hearing and 3-in-4 Americans think Senate Republicans are playing politics by refusing to consider to it.”
By a 77-16 margin, respondents indicated that Republicans’ obstruction of Garland’s nomination was more about “playing politics” than it was an effort to “give American people a voice.” That includes 62% of self-identified Republicans who rejected their own party’s talking point on the issue. A majority of Republican respondents also indicated that Garland deserved at least a hearing.
In other words, the public has had its say, and the public has told Congress to do its job. The longer they hold out and stick to this demonstrably bad argument, the worse off their swing state Senate candidates are likely to be in November.