Hoyer Says Constitution Does Not Compel Senate to Consider Nominee

By Penny Starr | March 7, 2016 | 12:19 PM EST

House Minority Whip Steny

Hoyer (D-Md.)   (AP) 

(CNSNews.com) – At his weekly meeting with reporters last week at the nation’s Capitol, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the Constitution does not require the U.S. Senate to give “advice and consent” on President Barack Obama’s nomination to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but it is the body’s “responsibility” to move the process forward.

“It’s the responsibility – it’s not mandated by the Constitution – but it’s the responsibility of the United States [Senate] to deal with these issues that confront them,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer referred to the Senate’s rejection of President Ronald Reagan’s nominations in 1987 of Judges Robert Bork and Donald Ginsburg before approving the appointment of Judge Anthony Kennedy to the high court, and then Hoyer repeated that the Senate is not required by the Constitution to take up a president’s nomination.

“[Obama] is the president of the United States,” Hoyer said. “He is the legitimate president of the United States. He is the elected president of the United States and, constitutionally, he has the responsibility to make an appointment to fill the Supreme Court.”

“And while the Constitution doesn’t mandate that [the Senate] give advice and consent -- as they did not in the Bork and Ginsburg cases -- it clearly gives the United States Senate the responsibility to ensure that the court is made whole and can act in a decisive manner so that the law can be settled,” he said.

“That is the role of the Supreme Court,” Hoyer said.

Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states, “He [the president] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.”

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