Justice Antonin Scalia hasn’t been laid to rest yet, but Republicans are already fighting President Barrack Obama’s Constitutional obligation to name a successor, and some high-ranking Democrats attribute the foot-dragging to Obama’s race.
Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told the New York Times that some members of the GOP’s insistence that the nomination is held off until after the election is about Obama’s skin tone.
"It’'s more than a political motive -- it has a smell of racism,” he said.
"I can tick instance after instance over the last seven years where Republicans have purposely tried to diminish the president’s authority," Butterfield added. "This is just really extreme, and leads me to the conclusion that if this was any other president who was not African-American, it would not have been handled this way.”
Other politicians noted that there’s been a pattern of Republicans trying to discredit Obama since even before he took office in 2008. “You hear the thing about: ‘He’s not a citizen. He oversteps his bounds. He’s divisive.’ One thing after another,” said Democratic Rep. Representative Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio.
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland agreed that the latest procrastination on naming a successor has to do with race. "It is extremely alarming, and most African-Americans -- and many others -- believe that there is race involved in these pronouncements by the Republicans," he told the Huffington Post.
"The GOP has consistently tried to demean this president. They have attacked him for everything from the color of suit he wears, to the Affordable Care Act -- which they were for at one time.”
Democratic Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams said that the GOP is trying to hurt Obama even when he’s no longer in office. “Congress is denying our president his rights as a president, but, more than that, they’re denying the legacy of his presidency,” she said.
“That will animate Democratic voters across the board but especially African-Americans, who realize more than many voters how great an impact the Supreme Court can have on freedom.”