PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Delaware Senator Chris Coons called on Republican leaders in the Senate and on the Senate Judiciary committee to hold confirmations hearing and a vote on President Obama’s impending nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and to break with statements they’ve previously made promising to not take action until next year.
Coons, in an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said the Senate is obligated to do their job and consider the nominee.
“We should be having hearings. The members of the Senate should meet with the nominee. I expect that the President will nominate someone this week to be the next Supreme Court Justice. This is a simple point. The Constitution says that the President shall nominate and we in the Senate have an advice and consent role. If they have a hearing, if they get a vote and they’re voted down, that’s advice and consent. In the hundred years that there has been a Senate Judiciary Committee, every single nominee has gotten a hearing, gotten a vote and, in some cases, even those nominees who were voted down in committee still got a floor vote. I’m not sure what they’re afraid of. I’m not sure why the majority is saying they won’t have a hearing.”
While acknowledging that the Constitution designed the government check the power of each branch, he stated there is business that should be handled.
“This is how the founders intended it. It’s very hard to get things through both the House and the Senate and to the President. The separation of powers and the divisions that were written into the structure by our founders was to make to make it hard to get things done, to slow down the passions of Democracy. The reason we’re not a parliament, the reason we’ve got a House and a Senate and the reason they are elected on different basis and the reason they are independent of the President, and really capable of challenging the President, is when there’s an overreach by one branch or any overreach by one region or one set of interests. There’s a natural balancing. I do think it’s gotten to a level that should concern all of us because we are having difficulty addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our country. It’s my hope that in this very competitive, very divided presidential election, and with some very challenging elections for the Senate as well in this region, that folks will think hard about what they want. Do they want a government that functions and where people compromise and listen to each other?”
Coons also addressed the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton using a private email server while Secretary of State, and though he thinks it was a mistake, he doesn’t see the presidential candidate suffering any long term consequences.
“I think it was a failure of judgement. I think she should have know better than to be using a potentially open to hacking email server for exchanging information that now, today, folks looking at it in retrospect are deciding should have been classified. But I don’t think, in the end, that’s going to end up posing a major problem. There are lots of folks, former Secretaries of State for the Bush Administration, who also did the same thing. There are lots of folks using too open systems for communicating broadly in government and in the private sector. I, ultimately, don’t think that ends up being a major barrier to her nomination.”