PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the passing of Supreme Court Antonin Scalia, partisan politicos have already begun gearing up to fight the battle of who and when the next nominee takes their place on the high court. Republicans have called for no vote to be held until a new President is in office, while President Obama has announced he plans to name a nominee when he is ready to do so.

On Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Dom Giordano spoke with Kelly Johnston, a former Secretary of the Senate, who said Republican leadership is coordinating an effort to prevent a vote being held on an Obama pick.

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“This is a very politically charged atmosphere. More than I’ve ever seen. I think [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] was just trying to send a quick signal with the pressure that was already underway, even before there was a proper mourning time for the loss of a great justice to act. I think Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has the primary jurisdiction for the confirmation of justices was doing what they felt was necessary in setting a benchmark now, making sure that the Senate troops stayed in line, that nobody thought there was going to be an effort to confirm somebody in this atmosphere.”

He stated, however, that if the parties do agree to begin the hearing process it would be difficult to prevent a confirmation vote.

“Chairman Grassley and the ranking Democrat, Pat Leahy of Vermont, could decide let’s go ahead and do a hearing at some point. Then, based on keeping the political calculus as even as possible and not allowing either way to hurt one party, but frankly, if they do that, then they wind up, if  you have a hearing now, then you gotta have a vote. The pressure just builds to keep the process going.”

Johnston does not see a scenario playing out where President Obama appoints a nominee in January, after a new Congress is sworn in, but before he leaves office.

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“Most recent Justices have had between 20 and 30 hours of questioning as part of the confirmation process. Trying to nominate somebody, at a fairly slow time, when people aren’t even in their offices yet and trying to ram through a nomination and confirmation that quickly would be utterly brazen and without precedent.”

 

 

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