Attorneys general are the top law enforcement officer in the states, and not surprisingly, when it comes to a Supreme Court vacancy, they want to see the law enforced.
In a letter to U.S. Senate leadership last week, 20 attorneys general, including Maura Healey of Massachusetts and William Sorrell of Vermont, urged a hearing and a vote on President Obama's eventual nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Congressional Republicans, many of them supposed "strict Constitutionalists," want to stall for a year to deny President Obama the chance to choose a justice.
The AGs noted a number of inconvenient truths for Republicans, beginning with the Constitution's description of the process to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. "This is the law and it should be followed," the letter declared. They pointed out that a nominee has on average received a full Senate hearing within 67 days of his or her nomination and six justices have been confirmed during election years, most recently under President Reagan. An eight-member judicial panel could result in delayed or deadlocked rulings that might adversely impact the states, the attorneys general wrote.
In a fiery Senate speech Thursday, Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts demanded that Republicans "do your job" and hold a hearing and a vote on the president's eventual nominee. That means putting aside party politics and the GOP's irrational hatred of President Obama and obeying the Constitution to which Washington Republicans are so eager to pay lip service.