Supreme Court Fact Sheet: The Senate’s job

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The following information was submitted to St. George News from the office of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Fact: The Senate is doing its job under the Constitution by acting to defend the integrity of the Supreme Court.

The Constitution gives the Senate authority to check the president’s power in the appointment process. While the Constitution gives the president formal authority to nominate a Supreme Court candidate, the Senate has the right to refuse its consent to any nominee.

  • In Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, there are two relevant points: The first gives the president authority to nominate judges, and the second gives the Senate the responsibility to advise and give or withhold consent—a crucial check against the president’s appointment power.
  • The advice and consent role is not a ceremonial function but a deliberate and essential component of the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.
  • The Constitution does not specify a time frame for this process; instead, it leaves to the Senate’s discretion the choice of when and how it will carry out the advice and consent function.
  • Elections have consequences. In 2014, the American people elected a Republican Senate majority as a check against President Obama’s executive overreach.

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13 Comments

  • Giuseppe March 2, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    We the people elected President Obama (twice) and as being our elected President we have also elected him to appoint a new S.C.J. in the event of a vacancy. Yes the Senates job is to confirm or deny. So please confirm or deny any that the President nominates but not based on waiting for a new election. The election already took place in 2012. #doyourjob

    • BIG GUY March 3, 2016 at 6:47 am

      You say “the election already took place.” I agree; the election of 2014 when Democrats lost the Senate.

      See my post below to see what Obama, Biden, Reid and Schumer all think the Senate’s job is. All referred to the election that put Democrats in control of the Senate in their day; none saw any “mandate” in the election of a Republican president.

  • godisdead March 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Elections have consequences? Mitt Romney LOST the election. For seven years the republicans in congress have done NOTHING but create roadblocks for anything suggested by Obama. It’s not even funny anymore how Hatch lies about his actions in the Senate. While in the judiciary committee, he held up nominations by Clinton, then complained that they weren’t moving fast enough under W. It reminds me of an old joke about Hatch – what two things do I like about Urine Hatch? answer – his face. I see Hatch as a lying, slimy, two-face politician, simply trying to rationalize his behavior to Utard republicans, so he can line his nest. What a … he is.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • BIG GUY March 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Senators and former Senators Obama, Biden, Reid and Schumer all agree with you, Senator Hatch. This is essentially what each of them said when a Republican president was in office and Democrats were in control of the Senate. You’ve got support for your position on both sides of the aisle!

  • Chris March 2, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    “acting to defend the integrity of the Supreme Court” Orrin is a national joke. The president has not even nominated anyone, and yet, the Senate is already saying it will reject whoever it may be. How is that a defense of the court’s “integrity”? Refusing to even consider any nominee is a blatant failure by the Senate to do its job.

    • BIG GUY March 3, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Obama, Biden, Reid and Schumer all said the same thing before any nominations were made by Republican. In Obama’s famous words to Senator McConnell, “Elections have consequences. You lost.”

      • Chris March 3, 2016 at 8:40 am

        You are dead wrong. None of those senators, or any Democrat, has ever said such a thing about court nominations that have not yet been made. Your Obama quote was made after his presidential inauguration and had nothing to do with court nominations. Get your facts straight. Give us a date, time and quote of what you claim.

        • BIG GUY March 4, 2016 at 2:09 pm

          Oh, Chris. When your only news sources are MSNBC and the New York Times, you’ll never hear or read what these Senators said. A number of conservative sources documented chapter and verse what each of these folks said at the time. Sources were given, including New York Times reporting at the time.

          Here’s Senator Schumer addressing the American Constitutional Society on July 27, 2007, 18 months before the end of President Bush’s presidency:

          “How do we apply the lessons we learned from Roberts and Alito to be the next nominee, especially if—God forbid—there is another vacancy under this president? … [F]or the rest of this president’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito. Given the track record of this president and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings—with respect to the Supreme Court, at least—I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances.”

          The above is documented on a video. Here’s what Joe Biden said on the Senate floor in 1992, also documented in a video:

          “Politics has played far too large a role in the Reagan-Bush nominations to date. One can only imagine that role becoming overarching if a choice were made this year, assuming that a justice was announced tomorrow that he or she was stepping down. If President Bush were to submit a nominee, the Senate should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

          You need to get out more: it will do wonders for your perspective on politics.

  • mesaman March 2, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    The socialist vultures are restless tonight.

    • Chris March 2, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      says the lifetime government worker.

    • .... March 2, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      So is the Mesa AZ village idiot

  • munchie March 2, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Maybe Hatch and his colleagues in the Senate should just go home and leave all government decisions over the next 11 months to the next administration and Senate. Hard to believe we have to pay these clowns.

    • .... March 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

      Talking about a free ride. ask mesaman about living off the sweat and tax dollars of the working people that’s all he’s ever done

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