President Joe Biden is not going to get an easy path for whomever he nominates to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is already warning Biden not to "outsource" the choice to the progressive left, while Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is suggesting he is going to be no rubber-stamp vote in the Senate, which has 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents.
"Looking ahead — the American people elected a Senate that is evenly split at 50-50," McConnell wrote in a statement Thursday. "To the degree that President Biden received a mandate, it was to govern from the middle, steward our institutions, and unite America.
"The president must not outsource this important decision to the radical left. The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution."
McConnell has been at the heart of the Senate battles for the next Supreme Court nominees. First, he blocked Merrick Garland's nomination from making the Senate floor in the final year of the Obama administration, because the Senate was controlled by Republicans, then he squeezed through three conservatives on simple majority votes during the Trump administration.
"I congratulate Justice Breyer on nearly three decades of thoughtful and consequential service on the Supreme Court, capping forty-plus years of total service on the federal bench," McConnell's statement began.
"Justice Breyer commands respect and affection across the legal world, including from those who disagree with his judicial philosophy and conclusions in cases. This respect is rooted in Justice Breyer's intelligence, rigor, and good-faith scholarly engagement. By all accounts, both personally and professionally, he has rendered exemplary service on our nation's highest court.
"Justice Breyer's commitment to the importance of a nonpartisan, non-politicized judiciary has been especially admirable. Even in the face of undue criticism from the modern political left, Justice Breyer has remained a principled voice against destructive proposals such as partisan court-packing that would shatter public trust in the rule of law."
Manchin has been at the heart of a number of Biden administration setbacks in the Senate of late. First, he vowed to vote against the $1.9 trillion "Build Back Better" social spending package, then he blocked removing the filibuster, keeping Senate Democrats from passing voting reform bills on strict party-line votes.
He vowed to weigh the merits of Biden's Supreme Court nominee.
"I take my constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a nominee to the Supreme Court very seriously," Manchin wrote in a statement Wednesday before Breyer made his retirement announcement official. "I look forward to meeting with and evaluating the qualifications of President Biden's nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy."
Biden is vowing to keep a campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, because it was "time" for one to have "representation" on the nine-justice court.
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