Schumer was against it before he was for it

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Chad Groening, Steve Jordahl (

Chuck Schumer, Sen. (D-New York)Is Chuck Schumer a constitutional champion – or is he a political ideologue?

It may not sound as hypocritical as it seems when the same senator who says the Senate should consider an appointment by the president to the Supreme Court also has said the Senate should not take up an appointment by the president to the Supreme Court.

In the days since the sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the high court's most conservative voice, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) may seem to some to be a champion of constitutional process and a hero in the fight against ideologues.

"Our job is to go forward with the process and then we'll see what happens," the Democratic lawmaker said recently. "The Constitution – you know, Ted Cruz holds the Constitution when he walks through the halls of Congress – let him show me the clause that says the president's only president for three years."

But it was a completely different Schumer who in 2007 led the bitter campaign to obstruct President George W. Bush's nominations.

"The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another [John] Roberts, or Justice Ginsberg by another [Samuel] Alito," Schumer said then. "With respect to the Supreme Court, at least, I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances."

Political consultant Jeff Crank says actually, Schumer is being totally consistent – if his point is to promote his political philosophy or worldview. And he says the same goes for Republicans who want to save the country from what they might consider a disastrous appointment by President Obama.

"[Obama] has shown a total disregard for the Constitution, subverted it at every chance he got … disregarded and flaunted this Supreme Court and other federal courts," he tells OneNewsNow. "We just can't allow someone like that to make an appointment."

At the same time, Crank has no problem with a conservative successor to Obama making the choice.

Advantage: GOP?

Meanwhile, a Christian political scientist is optimistic that Scalia's death will give Republican candidates an advantage when it comes to using the issue of Supreme Court nominations to fire up their base.

"The thing that we must remember about the Democrats is they've moved so far to the left and outside the mainstream of American thought that it makes it easier for Republican presidential candidates to use this issue," says Dr. Charles W. Dunn, professor emeritus of government at Clemson University.

He says that also applies in gauging how the public feels about Obama's attempt to name Scalia's replacement. "We have to remember that Obama's standing in the polls is not good," Dunn points out. "If he had a higher standing in the polls, he might be able to get sufficient public support to make that nomination."

But right now Dunn believes President Obama has a weak hand – and he believes that if Republicans play it right, the president won't be able to win that battle.

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