Key Republicans have said they are going to oppose President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. In addition to the GOP opposition, some Christian activist groups are gearing up against the unknown nominee.
The Christian-based American Center for Law and Justice has assigned five of its lawyers to dig up information on potential nominees, sent out about 1 million emails to its supporters and created an online petition that says, "With the Constitution at stake, we must have a voice. Add your name today."
The Constitution gives the president authority and the responsibility to nominate a Supreme Court justice.
“The stakes are as high as anything we have dealt with in Washington in a decade,” Jay Sekulow, who heads the ACLJ, told The New York Times. “This is not even the beginning of what this fight will be. It’s full-media, full-legal research, full-government affairs, full-throttle on this.”
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“This is a monumental fight,” Sekulow added. “It will be the biggest political fight of the year. It will be huge.”
Tony Perkins, president of the pro-Christian Family Research Council, said on his group's website: "The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now. With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat."
A recent FRC email to supporters stated: "While the Court copes with Scalia's absence, the White House seems intent on nominating his replacement, despite the 80-year tradition of leaving an election-year vacancy to the next president."
President Ronald Reagan's choice for the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, was confirmed during an election year, February 1988, noted The Washington Post.
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Amy Howe recently noted on SCOTUSBlog:
"The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election. In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years."