PA-Sen: Toomey Stands Firm on Not Confirming

Supreme-CourtThe death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has sent shockwaves throughout the political world.

GOP presidential candidates are insisting they should have the opportunity to nominate Scalia’s replacement after they take back the White House, while both Democrats are urging Pres. Obama to carry out his constitutional duty to nominate a successor to fill the vacancy.

Sen. Pat Toomey waded into the debate on Tuesday, guaranteeing an Obama nominee would be rejected by the Senate. His comments prompted heated backlash from his Democratic challengers earlier in the week, but he’s at it again.

Toomey said he believed the American people should play a role in the process, by allowing the next president to nominate a ninth justice to the nation’s highest court.

“I think the question before us now is…should the outgoing president fundamentally change the balance of the Court for the next one or two generations?” Toomey told Marc Levy of the AP Thursday. “I don’t think that’s reasonable. I think that it’s more reasonable for the American people to have a more direct say in that process, which they will do through the election of the president knowing now with certainty that the next president is going to make this really important pick.”

Toomey said a vacancy on the Supreme Court for the next 11 months would not be “that big a deal,” while arguing the confirmation process could be tainted by the impending presidential election.

“It’s very unlikely that any nominee, however well qualified, could reach the level that would be necessary to satisfy both sets of criteria,” Toomey said. “And for that reason, it might be just as well not to have a hearing that would, sort of, might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate, because it’s bigger than that.”

Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak hit back after Toomey’s statements seemed to confirm that the GOP-controlled Senate would be unable to keep party politics out of the confirmation process in Obama’s lame-duck final year.

“Pat Toomey could not be more wrong,” Sestak said. “Weighing a nominee’s qualifications is precisely what hearings are meant for, not at all the partisan political weighing of whether the nominee is from a president of a particular party.”

Sabrina Singh, Communications Director for Democrat Katie McGinty’s Senate campaign, called Toomey’s statement a “stunning” admission that the confirmation process would be political.

“He boldly admits that this is a political calculation by Senate Republicans and that their ultimate goal is to appoint a justice that aligns with their radical ideology that would overturn a woman’s right to choose, keep dark money in politics and take healthcare away from millions of Americans,” Singh said.

Finally, the Fetterman camp weighed in.

“This is just another failure of leadership by Toomey who clearly prefers to have the balance of the court determined by Ted Cruz or another passenger in the Republican clown car that is currently their presidential field.”

February 18th, 2016 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories | 21 Comments

21 thoughts on “PA-Sen: Toomey Stands Firm on Not Confirming”

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  9. Ed Withers says:

    Senator Pat Toomey. Please do not vote or continue to perform any other senatorial functions for the rest of this year. Since you are up for re-election you must wait; so the people of Pennsylvania can have a voice. If you are re-elected, then feel free to perform any of your duties as our Pennsylvania Senator!

  10. aaron says:

    we will be getting someone else anyways. one term Toomey probably knows that. has Eakin resigned yet?

  11. Robert says:

    “It’s very unlikely that any nominee, however well qualified, could reach the level that would be necessary to satisfy both sets of criteria,” Toomey told AP. “And for that reason, it might be just as well not to have a hearing that would, sort of, might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate, because it’s bigger than that.”

    Hey, Toomey; no, you wouldn’t want to “mislead the American people into thinking” that you could DO YOUR FREAKING JOB, would you? No, it’s NOT “bigger than that.” It’s spelled out pretty clearly in the constitution, without leeway for political considerations: It’s. Your. JOB, period.

    Now quit whining, and DO IT! Or we’ll get someone else who can.

  12. Reasonable man says:

    Senator Toomey you were elected to do your job per the constitution,if you do not want to perform as expected resign or remove yourself from reelection. The president is fulfilling his obligations, you Sir, are being an obstructionist!!

  13. Toomey Waffles says:

    He’ll fold like a tent.

  14. Reasonable Rep says:

    David –

    1) Principles of law matter. Courts cannot make whimsical distinctions on a case-by-case basis to justify different applications of the same constitutional or statutory provision. Re: Citizens’ United, the most convincing takeaway from Kennedy’s majority opinion and Scalia’s concurrence – read together – is that the First Amendment has always been understood to concern the expression as opposed to the expressor. For this reason, the First Amendment does not distinguish the media from other corporations. Similarly, the First Amendment does not apply any differently to a substantive expression protected by the freedom of SPEECH than it does to that same expression protected by the freedom of THE PRESS.

    If the First Amendment does not not permit to the People to associate – whether in a union, corporation or partnership – and engage in political speech, then the logical implication is that political speech in newspapers, books, television and websites could similarly be regulated/limited.

    2) Whether the abortion cases yielded the correct result is a matter of personal opinion. All I’ve asked is for someone to explain what is so “radical” or “unreasonable” about the position that the People never ratified an amendment to the Constitution that was understood to ban state laws restricting abortion, thereby removing the issue from the democratic process?

    Yes, of course there are some rights not expressly provided for in the text have nonetheless been recognized. You enjoy the fundamental rights, for example, to procreate and to raise your own children as you see fit. But whatever you think of substantive due process (the doctrinal theory that allows courts to recognize these sorts of rights), the common denominator is a finding by the court that the right is “fundamental” by virtue of being “deeply rooted” in the Nation’s history and tradition. For instance, since 1776 we’ve never sterilized alcoholics, so we’re not going to allow the government to start now. On the other hand, abortion was widely criminalized throughout our history. Clearly, it is not “deeply rooted” in our history and tradition.

    Bottom line – the Left, whether consciously or by their own ignorance, constantly conflates the perceived “radical” opposition to legal abortion (policy view) with the opposition to abortion existing as right guaranteed by the Constitution (legal view). You illustrate this by suggesting that an amendment *banning* abortion – rather than simply leaving the issue to the democratic process at the state level – is the alternative to Roe v. Wade. Not true.

    3) No, absolutely not – the Fourteenth Amendment proscribes states from banning inter-racial marriage. However, I would “get there” a different way than the Court did in Loving vs. Virginia, where it identified the fundamental right to marry as implicit under the Fourteenth Amendment, applied heightened scrutiny due to a racial distinction that was aimed at maintaining White Supremacy, and then ruled that the law could not survive such scrutiny. Such a law “must advance an important governmental interest, the intrusion must significantly further that interest, and the intrusion must be necessary to further that interest.”

    Instead, I would get there by looking directly to the text of both the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment. For all citizens, regardless of race, to hold the “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings” as is enjoyed by, for example, white citizens…this would require that all non-white citizens have EXACTLY the same rights as white citizens. If white citizens could enter into marriage contracts with white citizens, then it necessarily follows that citizens of every race hold the same contractual right to marry white citizens. State laws that would ban inter-racial marriage would not afford “the same right” … “to citizens of every race and color” … “to make or enforce contracts” … as is enjoyed by white citizens.” In doing so, states would violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

    I would add that this logic work for other combinations, say a husband of Japanese descent and a wife of African descent…even without the White Supremacy aspect that triggered the heightened scrutiny in Loving v. Virginia.

    Lastly, interracial marriage bans don’t necessarily have to include criminal implications, but Justice Stewart’s two sentence concurrence in Loving v. Virginia is spot on: “I have previously expressed the belief that ‘it is simply not possible for a state law to be valid under our Constitution which makes the criminality of an act depend upon the race of the actor’ …. Because I adhere to that belief, I concur in the judgment of the Court.”

  15. David Diano says:

    Reasonable Rep-

    1) Trump has gotten (for free) media worth more than the other candidates raised combined (as well as a free pass early on by a news media seeking ratings over news)
    But, you ignore the billions being spent for races all over the country at the federal and local level.

    2) The anti-abortion laws in all the states were determined (correctly) to be unconstitutional. You don’t always need an amendment to say something is unconstitutional, and you are never going to get an amendment banning abortion.

    3) Do you think states have the right to ban inter-racial marriage? Or rather that “equal protect” is meant to guarantee civil rights across all the states.

    You are acting very un-Reasonable Rep.

  16. Bono says:

    A 11 month vacancy wouldn’t be a big deal professes Senator Toomey. Who is going to be responsible for the costs of administering justice for all the cases that have to be re-argued because of the ideological divide. Toomey needs to have his head examined & better stop his complaints about expanding the debt.

  17. Reasonable Rep says:

    Re: Citizens’ United, you’re right! Looking back at New Hampshire, it’s a disgrace that Jeb! ($36 million), Christie ($19 million) and Rubio ($15 million) were able to ride their wave of big money, buy the election and finish ahead of Trump ($4 million) and Cruz ($580K). Oh wait. They didn’t.

    Re: Abortion – you ducked my question, got sidetracked again and went way off the road.

    Focus up. What is so “radical” about the position that the People never ratified an amendment to the Constitution that was understood to ban legislation at the state level regulating abortion, thereby removing the issue from the democratic process?

    Keep in mind…

    “The Constitution places some constraints on self-rule – CONSTRAINTS ADOPTED BY THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES WHEN THEY RATIFIED THE CONSTITUTION AND ITS AMENDMENTS. Forbidden are laws ‘impairing the Obligation of Contracts,’ denying ‘Full Faith and Credit’ to the ‘public Acts’ of other States, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing the right to keep and bear arms, authorizing unreasonable searches and seizures, and so forth. Aside from these limitations, those powers ‘reserved to the States respectively, or to the people’ can be exercised as the States or the People desire.”

  18. David Diano says:

    Reasonable Rep-

    It’s pretty clear that the Citizen’s United ruling was not only wrong at the time (due to the distorted views of people like Scalia), but that the warned of harm of big money in politics has proven to be even worse than alarms raised at the time.

    Roe v Wade has stood for decades of constant assault by those trying to inflict their religious views into women’s individual reproductive rights. The recent court has been overshadowed by the outdated, misogynistic views of Scalia for too long, and the country needs a Court more representative of thinking in the past two centuries (particularly the current century).

    The GOP presidential candidates are campaigning specifically on those issues as litmus tests and promising to nominate judges as backwards and out of touch as Scalia.

    They want to turn back gay rights, which most of the country has managed to accept as not bringing about Armageddon.

    The GOP is running on a theocratic (allegedly Christian) take on the Constitution and civil rights based on their interpretation of the Bible. (The same kind of interpretation that was used to justify slavery with blacks bearing the mark of Cain, and banning inter-racial marriage.)

    Toomey should do his f*cking job, and give Obama’s nominee a vote. Then next year, he can vote on Hillary’s nominees.

  19. Reasonable Rep says:

    And so the Three Stooges have been heard from.

    Sestak says that hearings are not meant for “the partisan political weighing of whether the nominee is from a president of a particular party.”  This coming from the guy who just the other day identified “protecting women’s right to choose,” “reversing Citizens’ United,” and “affirming the need to regulate polluters” as the pressing *issues* (LOL) before the Court.

    McGinty’s mouthpiece warns of a justice who would cast a “radical” vote to “overturn a woman’s right to choose.”  What is so “radical” about the position that the People never ratified an amendment to the Constitution that was understood to ban legislation at the state level regulating abortion, thereby removing the issue from the democratic process?

    Fetterman would have you believe that the Democrats will in fact NOT be nominating a presidential candidate, and that the path chosen by Toomey forecloses the possibility of anybody besides a Republican president putting forth a Supreme Court nominee in 2017.

  20. HaHaHa says:

    “I think the question before us now is…should the outgoing president fundamentally change the balance of the Court for the next one or two generations?” Toomey said Thursday. “I don’t think that’s reasonable.”

    But if the guy had died a few months earlier — totally reasonable.

    LOL. Toomey won’t get the chance to confirm anyone else. Ever.

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