In a breakfast meeting Thursday morning at The Heritage Foundation, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told a room full of reporters the Supreme Court nomination process deserved to be politicized, as the court has already made itself a political entity rather than a legal one.
Texas is currently embroiled in a legal battle at the Supreme Court over President Obama’s immigration policy that allows illegal immigrants who meet certain qualifications to live and work in the United States without facing the legal consequences of doing so.
Abbott said the biggest problem with Obama’s immigration policy is that it’s an abuse of executive authority: the president is attempting to singlehandedly rewrite immigration policy.
The court, which would have likely sided with Texas in a 5-4 decision before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, seems to now be split on the issue. Thus Scalia’s replacement on the bench will likely have a huge impact on tipping split decisions like the one involving Texas’s suit against Obama’s immigration policy.
Obama has named Merrick Garland as a potential nominee, but Senate Republicans have said they will not participate in any confirmation hearings until after Obama has left office. Democrats have called the Senate majority’s refusal a purely political act that violates the Senate’s role as defined by Article 2 of the Constitution to advise and consent throughout the nomination process.
But the Supreme Court “deserves to be swept up in the political process,” Abbott said. So it’s right for the American people — or senators elected to represent the American people — to have a say in who gets to sit on the bench.
“The word ‘consent’ is straightforward,” he said. “(The Constitution) does not say ‘advise and approve,’ but ‘advise and consent.'”
Nowhere does the Constitution say the Senate has to go through with any confirmation hearings, especially for an appointee they wouldn’t confirm anyway, he said.
“Why should they have to go through a dog and pony show?” he asked.