Democrats in their own words: "This is the prerogative of the President"
Senator Joseph Biden and Patrick Leahy, both former Judiciary Committee Chairman, are both on the record stating it is the President’s right to choose Supreme Court nominees. However, during President George W. Bush’s tenure, Leahy and Biden have been leading obstructionists on judicial nominations.
In his opening statement at Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s confirmation hearing in 1981, Senator Biden explained that, “[As] a member of the U.S. Senate, I am not choosing a nominee for the Court. That is the prerogative of the President of the United States, and we members of the U.S. Senate are simply reviewing the decision that he has made.”
Prior to the vote on Justice Antonin Scalia, Senator Leahy contended the President’s electoral mandate gave him the right to choose his nominee: “And I think as members of the Committee, we should respect the mandate the President has earned. The President told us in 1980 and 1984 he would appoint judges of his philosophy. He was given a mandate to do that. This Committee, if the nominees are otherwise qualified, should respect that.”* Justice Scalia was confirmed by the Senate 98-0.
In both the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, President Bush clearly stated that he was going to nominate a strict constructionist in the mold of Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Americans for Tax Reform has called on the Senate to meet its constitutional obligations and ensure a speedy confirmation process with an up or down vote on all judicial nominees.