Congress has frittered away virtually every constitutional power save one: the power of the Senate to deny presidential appointments to the federal bench. If Senate Republicans expect conservatives to ever trust them on anything, then they must decline to consider Obama's nominee to replace Justice Scalia.
There is precedent for this. In 1968, when Republicans were a Senate minority possessing only the power of filibuster, Everett Dirksen prevented Lyndon Johnson from appointing Associate Justice Abe Fortas to replace retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren and then appointing Homer Thornbury to take Fortas's seat as an associate justice.
Senate Minority Leader Dirksen did not run the Senate or control any Senate committees. Republicans, in fact, held only 36 Senate seats, and several of these were leftists. Yet Dirksen was able to cobble together enough senators to prevent Johnson from filling a Supreme Court office during a heated election year. The left, of course, squealed and yelled, but it lost, because Senate Republicans and a handful of Senate Democrats stood firm.
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