Congressman Smith Capitol Report: Ready for this Moment

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith
Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) represents Rolla in Missouri's Eighth Congressional District.

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…”. Article II, Section 2 of our Constitution is clear – it is the job of the President of the United States to nominate an individual to fill any current or announced vacancy on the Supreme Court. Equally, it is the job of your United States Senate to provide their advice and potential consent on the nominee. The Senate has the right, like it did in 2016, to reject the then nominee of President Obama, just as it has the right now, should it choose, to confirm the nominee of President Trump.

At my time of writing this, President Trump has yet to formally name who he will nominate to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Ginsburg, but at the time you will be reading this, that name will be known in every household across America. What I do know about who the President will put forth is that they will be a name which has already been shared over two weeks ago on the President’s short list of folks he would consider for our nation’s highest court. A list comprised of qualified constitutionalists who believe in reading laws as they are written and not legislating from the bench. While the left becomes unhinged as they scream about the President holding off nominating anyone, they fail to call on their own Presidential candidate to release a similar list of names he would consider filling any vacancy on the Supreme Court with. The truth is, Joe Biden can’t name anyone because there is no one progressive enough to satisfy the far left who has taken control of the Democrat Party.

Think of the threats which have been made by the leaders in the Democrat party since we learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death late last week – that they will “pack the court” by expanding the number of Justices on the Supreme Court if they win the White House, that they will again hold a round of sham politicized impeachment proceedings against the President or Attorney General William Barr to try and slow down the functionality of the United States Senate, and some have even called for shutting down your government completely to halt Supreme Court confirmation proceedings. Obstruct, investigate, impeach, impede, delay…it has been the Washington Democrat’s playbook for the last three years.

The truth is, President Trump has a constitutional right and obligation to nominate someone to our nation’s highest bench. There is not consideration of replacing a liberal justice with a liberal justice or moderate with a moderate or conservative with a conservative. The American people elected Donald Trump President, and it is his right as President to nominate someone. Similarly, it is the United States Senate’s job to provide advice and consent on that nomination by either confirming it or not. That is exactly what happened in 2016 when then President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia – the Senate rightfully advised the President that they rejected that nomination and did not provide their consent. This is nothing new. As a matter of fact, in the history of our country, on 29 different occasions a Supreme Court vacancy has occurred in the same year as an election, 10 of those times the President and Senate were of different parties, as chosen by the American people and 9 out of those 10 times the nominee was rejected. 2016 was no different. The Senate acted historically as it had acted by not confirming who the White House had nominated. Conversely, 19 of those times the President and Senate were of the same party and 17 times the vacancy was filled, that is where we are in 2020.

After President Obama’s first 2 years in office, the American people intentionally selected a divided government to place a check on an agenda they felt out of step. Further, they elected a Republican Senate in 2014. So, when a Supreme Court vacancy occurred during President Obama’s final year in office, the Senate acted exactly how the American people had elected it to do – to provide balance and counter on a President’s agenda headed in the wrong direction for our country. As a matter of fact, a Senate controlled by the opposing party as the President hasn’t confirmed a nominee put forth by a President to fill a vacancy in an election year in more than a century.

The need to have a fully functioning court is now potentially greater than at any point in our country’s history. Hilary Clinton has publicly told Joe Biden to not concede the results of the election to Donald Trump - to use every legal tool he has to try and challenge the results in the courts. As we approach what may very well be one of the tightest and most contested elections our nation has ever seen, now more than ever we need a fully functioning Supreme Court for the expected legal challenges to come. More rioting. More looting. More violence. It is what is in store if Supreme Court decisions involving the 2020 Presidential race fall on 4-4 tied lines. Our country doesn’t deserve that, Missourians don’t deserve that.

The Supreme Court has often been the last stop at protecting your constitutional rights against governments at all levels trying to gain more power. Holding a vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee to that bench is about listening to the will of the American people. That will elected Donald J Trump President in 2016, re-elected him a Senate Republican Majority in 2018 and is ready for this moment.