When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), within a few hours of Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death in February, declared that his seat should remain open for the next president to fill, no matter whom President Obama nominated, many were quick to cry foul.
Democrats argued that the GOP, yet again, was proving to be the party of obstructionism, and the voters would punish Republicans for the unprecedented gambit. Legal observers, including some conservatives, fretted over the constitutional norms that were being shattered with the move, along with its political wisdom. Some Republicans even signaled their discomfort with the stance, particularly after Obama nominated a 63-year-old moderate who, they argued, would be better for them than whatever young liberal a President Clinton could be expected to nominate.
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