Ron Johnson again shirks his constitutional duties by vowing to block Supreme Court nomination

Brandon Weathersby, WisDems

When the news of Justice Scalia’s passing broke, what was the first thing that Senator Ron Johnson thought to do?

After strangely tweeting out a picture of an actor playing Justice Scalia on Broadway, the first thing Senator Johnson did, less than 24 hours after learning of Scalia’s passing, was to join Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the most extreme elements of the right wing in demanding that President Obama not appoint a replacement.

After five years of missed committee hearings and threats to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, Johnson is again abandoning his responsibilities. But he’s also demanding that the president and the United States Senate not do their jobs as well.  

Here are a few key points Johnson should have considered before taking a position that would leave the United States Supreme Court unable to decide a number of critical cases for over a year:   

  •  The president has a constitutional responsibility to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, and the Senate has an obligation to vote on that nominee. The Senate must do its job.  
  • History shows that the Senate has not previously shirked its responsibility to confirm Supreme Court Justices in an election year. Since 1900, six Supreme Court Justices have been confirmed in presidential election years.  
  • Since the Civil War, no Supreme Court vacancy has been left open for a year. Failing to confirm a new justice would weaken the court and compromise a fundamental part of our democracy. 
  • Leader McConnell has repeatedly vowed to abide by “regular order” to make the Senate work. Johnson praised the promise. But now we find that “regular order” isn’t a real priority for Johnson. Political gamesmanship is. 

“Over the last five years, Senator Ron Johnson has repeatedly taken actions to ensure that Congress just doesn’t work,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin executive director Kory Kozloski said today. “Sen. Johnson is not doing his job. He’s made it clear that he thinks the president shouldn’t do his job. And if he gets his way, the Supreme Court won’t be able to do its job either.”