Taking a signal from former President Barack Obama, Vermont’s senior senator says he’s never been one to mope.
“I wouldn’t have stayed in the senate if I was mopey, even though I’ve seen these dramatic changes,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – Vt.) said to reporters after a speech to the Vermont Law School’s International Restorative Justice Conference at the University of Vermont in Burlington Friday.
President Obama told democrats “enough moping,” as the situation seems to get worse for them.
The latest setback for democrats is Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement.
Justice Kennedy, a Reagan-nominated conservative justice, was known as the swing vote on the country’s highest court. He embraced liberal views on social issues including same-sex marriage and abortion.
“Kennedy’s legacy is being one to get people to balance. That legacy will be destroyed within a year if the president is allowed to put in someone from his lobbyist’s picked list,” said Sen. Leahy.
President Trump says he will announce his pick on July 9th.
Democrats want the senate to wait until after the November election to vote on President Trump’s nominee, citing precedent, they say, was set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In 2016, McConnell refused to hold hearings on President Obama’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia following his death.
Judge Merrick Garland did not get a hearing because McConnell said the American people should be able to weigh in in the voting booth later that year.
“Under the so-called Mitch McConnell rule, there’s no rush to fill this seat…the American people deserve to have the chance to have their voices heard,” said Sen. Leahy.
Republican leaders vow to start the confirmation process for President’s Trump nomination as soon as possible.
“The president has a lot of good names. The ones I’m familiar with I’m very pleased with,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’ll see what the president does. But as soon as we get a name we’ll go to work to get the person confirmed.”
With democrats in the minority, Sen. Leahy says it will take action from the American public to delay the vote until after the election.
“[Trump’s] base wants him to put in somebody who’s going to be a rubber stamp of Donald Trump. Are we willing, all Americans, not just 49 senators, all Americans willing to stand up against that base and say so? If you do, we might have an effect,” he said.
Leahy says there are procedural ways for senate democrats to delay or block the vote until after the election but he wanted to leave it to Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein to comment.