Reader Poll: Do You Agree With Sen. Toomey’s SCOTUS Decision?

Supreme-CourtThe death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has caused a monumental political standoff.

The vacant seat upsets the former 5-4 conservative majority on the Court.

Just moments after Justice Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that the Senate wouldn’t approve of any nominee President Obama put up. Instead, he said that the next President should get to decide.

Subsequently, every Senate Republican has agreed with this reasoning, including Sen. Pat Toomey.

Senator Casey, meanwhile, has made it clear that he believes the Court should not remain deadlocked for such a long period of time.

So we leave the question to our readers.

Do You Agree or Disagree With Sen. Toomey’s Belief That Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court Seat Should Be Filled By the Next President?


  • Agree (60%)
  • Disagree (40%)

Total Voters: 3,813

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49 Responses

  1. Realistically, this particular PA reader poll is, in the grand scheme of things, rather inconsequential in that this has now become a national issue that has riled up Democrats across the country. Since Democrats have learned the trick of individual small donations, Mitch McConnell and Republicans on the Senate Judicial Committee have made the situation of Republicans in closely contested Senate races very challenging indeed. The frustration felt by Democrats with the perceived unfairness of the Republican position on the SCOTUS vacancy will inevitably be channeled into increased participation in 2016 Senate Races. Egging Democrats on in this way, handing the other side a cause they can rally around, does not seem to me a particularly well-though out strategy as far as Senators Toomey and Portman are concerned. It’s the angry side that tends to contribute the most in theses types of situations and in this case it’s the Democrats, who are angry. Senator McConnell is not doing the downticket any great service hereand he may just be blustering his way out of a job – that of Senate Majority Leader.

  2. The fact that Senator Toomey and other Republicans have taken a stand prior to any nomination of a potential candidate to fill the judicial seat is what concerns me the most. It only shows the lack of cooperation that is undermining our constitution as well as our country at this point in time. Truly disturbing to see this in our country’s leadership. Waiting for a new president to nominate a replacement means there will be a vacant seat for closer to a year and a half, due to the nomination and approval process. That is far too long to have a vacancy in our Supreme Court!

  3. Kathleen Hauk: Isn’t it funny how only the Republicans have a duty to non-ideolgocially consider nominees while the Democrats get to have a field day with ideology i.e., Bork

  4. Reasonable Rep: Yes, few cases are split(30%)…just the REALLY important ones…which is why the Republicans are collectively standing their ground.

  5. Worm2016 – Although would disagree, YES, the President has an obligation under Article II, Section II to put forth a nomination. NO, any obligation of the Senate to “engage in advice and consent” (whatever that means) does not require any vote on any nominee.

    So I’m afraid that YOU’RE the one – not unlike many misinformed Leftists, I might add – who is playing “fast and loose” with the Constitution by imagining provisions and obligations which do not exist.

  6. Jay – Yes, as long as the People elect a President and Senate – whether same party or different party – that can’t agree on a nominee, it’s possible to have what you characterize as a “split” Supreme Court for any length of time. (Although in the grand scheme of things, I must note that there have been relatively few 5-4 decisions, and would presumably be few 4-4 decisions.)

  7. Wayne – Put down your race card and try to keep up. I’ve already explained extensively to a number of your misinformed comrades why there is no constitutional requirement that the Senate vote on any nominee.

  8. Anonymous – I understand. And to reiterate, I’m not defending the merits of the Republicans’ position here, but rather the constitutionality and the logical soundness underpinning it. Whether there is, as you put it, “little merit to waiting” is certainly up for debate. I imagine that Democrats themselves will make it a campaign issue and the People will weigh in soon enough.

  9. Pres Obama has an obligation to put forward a nominee, and the Senate has an obligation to engage in ‘advice and consent’ per the Constitution. W 54 Republicans in the Senate, it’s the job of Toomey and McConnell to vote those nominees up or down. They can vote as many down as the Pres throws at them-the voters will decide the fate of that strategy in November. The supposed ‘constructionist’ party can’t play fast and loose w the Constitution due to what they believe to be an ‘untimely’ death lf a Justice.

  10. So… if we elect a Democrat for President in November, and…the Senate stays in the control of the Republicans…it’s possible to have an evenly split Supreme Court until…”the cows come home”? I wouldn’t put it past the current Republican US Senators to hold out for as long as they can. They, and their near relatives in the PA Assembly, have shown that the type of democracy they practice is anything but reasonable. As a group, the Republicans have consistently shown themselves to be bigoted along racial,religious,educational, and union lines. The core principle upon which the GOP operates goes something like,”Now that I’ve got mine, I’ve got to keep you from getting yours.” All a person has to do, assuming his/her eyes are open, is look at how the distribution of wealth in this country has become skewed since the time of Ronald Reagan.

  11. This is what I would expect from Senator Toomey. He has the leadership ability of a
    bi-valve.
    The President will do his job.
    To all Pennsylvanians: Do you really want a Senator that puts no thought into what’s good for America?

  12. Toomey needs to do the job that the people of PA pay him for. He needs to vote up or down on the president’s nominee in a reasonable amount of time. Not to obstruct the constitutional process. The republican arguments are racist hogwash and have nothing to do with history or reality.

  13. Reasonable Rep – Good points. I agree with your other comments that it is perfectly within the Senate’s right to refuse to confirm a nominee.

    My point is, is that while you’re right that the power of POTUS to nominate a SCOTUS Justice will be more of a campaign issue in 2016 than it was in 2010, 2012, or 2014, that doesn’t negate the assumption I make that people voting for Obama in 2012 do so knowing (or should, anyway that he might nominate a Justice before January 2017 should the circumstances arise (even if they haven’t). I don’t know that this constitutes having less of a say than waiting until after 2016, but I think your point is a fair one nonetheless, and the Senate is not obligated to confirm a nominee this year (although I see little merit to waiting, presumably to hedge bets on the GOP nominee winning in the fall).

  14. I disagree with Senator Toomey’s position because I’m hoping for a less conservative appointment.

    I also feel strongly that a President in office has an obligation to
    fill any openings that become available in the Supreme Court.

    The Senate should do its job and thoughtfully consider the candidates
    given by the President and do the job for which they were elected.
    That is not to consider the party to which they belong, but all the citizens
    of the United Staes who will be affected by future Supreme Court decisions.

  15. You won’t be singing the same tune if the replies lose the lection. I’m sure you will come up with some half baked excuse about stalling for four years or more

  16. First of all, this is not just any Supreme Court nomination. Given the current make up of the court, this next justice will decisively swing the direction of SCOTUS for the next decade or more. For those of us on the political right, anything less than another originalist/textualist judge is unacceptable. As a supporter of Sen. Toomey I full expect him to block the nomination of any candidate not meeting those requirements. He’s doing his job from our perspective.
    If the democrats win the presidency and re-take the senate, I would fully expect to see another liberal judge on the court. Since that will be the will of the people, I can live with that. But until that happens I will expect Sen. Toomey to hold his ground.

  17. Denny – Please cite the provision of the Constitution that provides for the “hearings” or the “process” that you describe. Until you can do so, I’m afraid that your talk of a constitutional “duty” being violated is just another unsupported proclamation.

    Somebody – ANYBODY – please provide a fact-based, logical argument as to how the Senate’s prospective decision not to consent until 2017 is inconsistent with the Constitution or our democratic values.

  18. Central PA Dem – Simply because you proclaim that the Senate’s decision is inconsistent with the Constitution does not make it so.  Your premise – the authority to make appointments is won and lost with presidential elections – misunderstands the relevant constitutional provision and is simply wrong.

    Appointment is the end result of (1) the President nominating, and (2) the Senate consenting.  Unless a party controls both branches of government, it does not have the “authority” to appoint. To that end, Democrats – not Republicans – lost the authority to appoint in the 2014 elections. Similarly, Republicans lost this authority in the 2006 elections, after which Chuck Schumer called for a blockage of further Bush nominations to the Supreme Court.

  19. Thank you Senator Toomey for your great leadership. The Democrats are hypocrites as Schumer and Barack Hussein Obama both advocated delaying and or filibustering nominations.

  20. Obama has every right to nominate. Toomey has every right to vote “No.” But the Republicans have a Constitutional duty to follow the process — or else don’t take their paychecks. If Obama sends a nominee, hold the hearings, then take a vote, up or down. I have no problem with Obama’s nominee(s) being rejected; the Senate was elected, too. But to not follow the process is being incompetent at their jobs.

  21. Sen. Toomey is giving voters a major reason not to vote for him by taking the far right wing line position of refusing to consider any nomination by the President. This is a good excuse not to vote for Sen. Toomey. Big tactical mistake from Mitch McConnell on down.

  22. Elections have consequences. The Republicans lost in 2012, and lost the constitutional authority to make appointments to the Supreme Court. Period. They can review and choose to reject a nominee, but to reject all nominees sight unseen is to ignore their constitutional duty.

  23. And David having thrown his deflective tantrum about past Senate “precedent,” gay rights and Obama’s taste in fashion, I will ask again:

    Somebody – ANYBODY – please provide a fact-based, logical argument as to how the Senate’s prospective decision not to consent is somehow inconsistent with the Constitution or our democratic values.

  24. Anonymous – To the point I made earlier, the People chose both the current President and the current Senate. So regardless of what happens in 2016 – appointment of X, appointment of Y, or no appointment at all – you’re right…the People will have “had a say” in who replaces Justice Scalia.

    To me, McConnell’s point is not that the People wouldn’t have a say, but rather that by withholding its consent until after the election, the Senate is allowing for the People to have MORE of a say (i.e., MORE influence) in Scalia’s replacement than they otherwise would have. The obvious reason being…in 2016, he’s dead…in 2010, 2012 and 2014, he wasn’t. Consequently, the President and Senate’s respective roles in the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice will indisputably be a larger campaign issue in 2016 than it was in 2010, 2012 or 2014.

    Of course, the trade-off for giving the People “more” of a say in Scalia’s replacement is the longer vacancy. Maybe the People will judge the negatives of the latter to outweigh the benefits of the former and entrust the Senate to the Democrats? Or maybe the opposite? Either outcome is fine! To quote Scalia’s dissent in Obergefell for the second time in as many days on this website: “That is exactly how our system of government is supposed to work.”

  25. Reasonable Rep-

    It’s not about them “consenting” once the President has made a recommendation, they are

    1) refusing to consider consenting without hearing the President’s choice

    2) They continue you make up hypocritical bullsh*t about stuff like “Executive Orders” when Reagan had twice as many.

    3) They said Obama was disrespecting the Oval Office by not wearing a jacket. (then of course, photos surfaced of Bush and Reagan in the Oval Office without jackets)

    4) They claim it’s “unprecedented” to nominate and confirm a Justice during the last year of a President’s term (but it happened with Reagan in 1988 with Kennedy)

    5) It’s their f*cking bullsh*t reasons. When the real reason is that they don’t like Obama because he is black, and liberal, and thinks gay people should have equal rights, and women should control their own bodies. The GOP is campaigning on putting in a president who will appoint justices who will roll back civil rights and impose radical right-wing Christian beliefs into Constitutional decisions.

    None of their excuses to refuse to even consider a nominee has any valid precedent in American history and is pure obstructionism.

    And, to top it off, they the f*ck are they going to say about the picks of President Hillary Clinton or President Bernie Sanders for the next 8 years?

  26. Reasonable Rep – Fair points re: democracy. Mitch McConnell and others have said that the American people “should have a say” in the next SCOTUS appointment, using that as justification for postponing a nomination until after the inauguration. This implies, to me at least, that those making this argument (including McConnell) believe that Americans would not be having a say should this not occur, which seems absurd to me. They’re the ones making a “straw man” argument, and I wouldn’t have brought it up if they hadn’t maid such bogus justification for waiting until after the election.

  27. Disregard for the Constitution, disregard for their “job,” disregard for the President, violating the President’s “rights,” robbing the People of their “say,” obstructing as never seen before, jeopardizing the nation’s well-being…BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    All naked, unsupported accusations that melt away at the first sign of scrutiny. The funny part is, at this point, I myself am not inflexibly opposed to going through the hearing process. All I’m doing is playing devil’s advocate and asking for somebody – ANYBODY – to offer up a factual and logical argument as to how the Senate’s prospective decision not to consent is somehow inconsistent with the Constitution or our democratic values.

    Crickets…

  28. This stance shows the disregard that Senator Toomey has for the constitution and our President. Never have we seen such an obstructionist Republican party and Toomey should have the strength to do what’s right. He will feel our distaste for his cowardice and lack of ethics at the polls. #onetermToomey

  29. Wait, what ? – Visit Wikipedia and do some research on Justice Stevens, specifically the timing of his appointment to the Supreme Court. We’ll get you up to speed upon your return.

  30. Anonymous – Straw man argument. Nobody is saying voters don’t have a say if Obama makes a nomination. The People in fact have a say on two fronts: they elected the President in 2012 and they elected the Senate in its present form in 2010/12/14. The President shall make a nomination and the Senate had the discretion whether or not to consent.

    Whatever the result of that two-part process – appointment or no appointment – the People will continue to have a say through the (hopefully) never ending process of democracy.

    President Obama’s supporters are entitled to continue to react to the present situation with hysterics. But it doesn’t change that fact that the Senate’s intent not to consent until 2017 is neither undemocratic or unconstitutional.

  31. Reagan appointed Stevens and he was confirmed in 1988-Reagans last year in office. How is this situation any different? This is precisely why the American public is sick and tired of politicians refusing to work together to do the people’s business.

  32. The idea that Americans don’t have a say if Obama nominates a successor before the election is absurd. They had a say when they elected Obama in 2012, with the understanding that he would serve for four years and would be able to appoint a SCOTUS Justice should a seat be vacated at any time during said term. Elections. Have. Consequences.

    I can’t think of a more blatant example of politicking than this. From my own party, too. It’s pretty ridiculous.

  33. Policy Guy – It’s the President’s *obligation* to nominate and the Senate has the *discretion* to consent. The appointment is merely the result of nomination + consent.

    That the Senate is not going to consent does not mean that anyone opposes the President’s authority/obligation/responsibility to make a nomination.

  34. phil Toomey shuld be impeeched he a bum and raceist cuz he aint never like nuthin the blk presadint ever says,

  35. It’s easy enough to not support a candidate once they are nominated. The question here is why oppose the authority to make this appointment. I’m afraid that the answer might be the influence of dark money.

  36. Isaac – The Constitution states that the President shall make a nomination, and grants the Senate the discretion whether or not to consent. This isn’t a constitutional issue.

    David – False equivalency. The people can vote in November such that any actions taken by Toomey and his colleagues over the next 9 months would be reversed in January of 2017. Conversely, the people have no such means of reversing any lifetime appointment made by President Obama over the next 9 months.

  37. 1/3 of the Senate just finished the 1st year of their 6 year term.

    1/3 of the Senate just finished the 3rd year of their 6 year term.

    1/3 of the Senate just finished the 5th year of their 6 year term.

    Maybe, it’s lame-ducks like Toomey who shouldn’t be voting.

  38. This is an incredibly foolish unforced error on Republicans’ part. It undermines their credibility in opposing any nominee put forward by the President, who, let’s not forget, is required by the Constitution they all swore to uphold, to nominate a replacement.

    Saying that they will reflexively oppose any nominee regardless of merit goes against every precedent and, once again, shows them for obstructionists they are instead of offering any thoughtful “loyal opposition”, yet again putting partisan politics above the nation’s well-being. But if the outrageously irresponsible debt ceiling hostage-taking didn’t demonstrate that clearly in the minds of every American, I’m not sure what else will.

  39. Now look who’s violating the “rights” of others. Voters can cast their votes on whatever basis they please.

  40. The Presidency, like a seat in the Senate, is an office. Such offices have obligations and in some instances discretion, but not “rights.” Those belong to individuals.

    So put down your race card and try to keep up. Nobody’s “rights” are being violated.

  41. Big Moola: YES!!! Also end the “hereditary” politicians who pass offices from one generation to the next. Maybe candidates should be assigned Code Numbers, so they names are anonymous, and voters can only be told their qualifications (which do not include family affiliations).

  42. David Meiser: Love your analogy. Obviously, GOP racism is the reason to deny Obama a Supreme Court nominee, as GOP has tried to deny him every other right as President.

  43. This a another example as why our Judicial systems at all levels are broken. Once again the Washington incumbents put partisan politics ahead of the Citizens of the united States. Much the same as what happens in Harrisburg. They want to scream Constitutional rights and then turn around and go against that very document that sets a procedure to follow.

    Once again proving why what America and Pennsylvania need at this point is TERM LIMITS ……. When will the American people finally wake up and Throw the Bums Out after 2 terms like the President and Governor.

  44. I’m glad Toomey took such a logically vacuous position. It will make Admiral Sestak’s job that much easier in November

  45. Entertain me. How is it unconstitutional? Why would it be any less acceptable in February of 2016 than it would have been had Justice Scalia passed in July of 2007…when Chuck Schumer all but advocated a boycott of a 3rd Bush appointee to the Supreme Court?

  46. The longest a SCOTUS Justice position has been unfilled is 125 days. It will be about 340 days until President Obama is out of office. That long of a delay in filling the position is unprecedented and unacceptable.

  47. This decision by the Republicans and followed like a lemming by Sen. Toomey will just about freeze the important work of the 3rd and equal branch of government. It is totally un-American and unconstitutional. Where does it say the President is only President for three years unless he’s a Republican/

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