Ted Cruz suggests delaying nomination of Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia indefinitely

Sen. Cruz wonders if the Supreme Court really needs that ninth seat filled

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 27, 2016 12:20PM (EDT)


Sen. Ted Cruz is suggesting that Senate Republicans may decline to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.

“There will be plenty of time for debate on that issue; there is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” the senator from Texas told reporters while campaigning for Republican candidates on Wednesday. “Just recently Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job; that’s a debate that we are going to have.”

Cruz was referring to Breyer’s comment earlier this week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “the mechanics works about the same” for the court with its current 4-4 split. Breyer said in effect that "historically, half of the high court's decisions are unanimous, and maybe 20 percent turn on a 5-4 vote," according to NBCNews.com.

The comment by Cruz echoed a statement made by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,  last week.

"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," McCain told 1210 WPHT radio in Philadelphia. "I promise you. This is where we need the majority and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered."

A Supreme Court seat hasn’t been deliberately kept vacant through Election Day since 1864, when America was in the midst of fighting the Civil War.

In July President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Scalia, Justice Merrick Garland, set an historic record for the longest-ever waiting period for a Supreme Court nominee to receive a hearing. The record was previously held by Justice Louis Brandeis, whose appointment was held up in 1916 due to anti-Semitic reaction to the selection of America’s first Jewish Supreme Court judge.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Antonin Scalia Barack Obama Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Supreme Court Ted Cruz