Tom Cotton on Supreme Court vacancy: "no more overreach from Barack Obama" | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tom Cotton on Supreme Court vacancy: "no more overreach from Barack Obama"

Posted By on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:49 PM

Tom Cotton was on Fox News yesterday for an interview about the Supreme Court vacancy and other matters. Cotton reiterated that under no circumstances will the Senate consider any nominee from President Barack Obama, regardless of qualifications. He said that Republicans would not allow Obama to "create a new Supreme Court to rubber stamp the Obama agenda." 

Cotton brought up his risible "court packing" argument, a bit of nonsense from a few years ago that I had forgotten all about. It's actually relevant here, however: The gist of Cotton's argument then was that judicial nominees of the duly elected president of the United States should only be allowed Senate confirmation votes if the president was a Republican. If the president was a Democrat, on the other hand, Cotton's legal theory was that fulfillment of the president's constitutional duty to nominate judges to fill vacancies — as has been done throughout the history of the United States of America — amounts to court packing. It's quite a theory. 

The issue then was three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit. Ludicrously, Cotton said Obama was "packing" the court by attempting to fill those vacancies (Bush nominations were not considered court packing, of course; see Cotton's legal theory described above). Cotton was so determined to stop this that he proposed eliminating the three vacant seats altogether.  The term "court packing" is a reference to FDR's infamous attempt to add seats to the U.S. Supreme Court so that he could nominate judges that would support his agenda. Cotton said that Obama's "nominations today to the D.C. Circuit are an obvious effort to pack a court that has frustrated his liberal, big-government ambitions." Obama pointed out that, no, court packing "involved Franklin Delano Roosevelt trying to add additional seats to the Supreme Court in order to water down and get more support for his political agenda. We’re not adding seats here. We’re trying to fill seats that are already existing." In fact, changing the number of judges on a court in order to influence its ideological makeup — as Cotton proposed to do — was itself the kind of gross power grab that made FDR's attempted stunt so shocking. Cotton was proposing court packing in reverse.

Which brings us to this year's Supreme Court controversy, another attempted power grab by Republicans: Cotton proposes keeping the ninth Supreme Court seat vacant for a year and essentially refusing to fulfill his constitutional duty to "advise and consent" on the president's nomination. Once again, Cotton deems it inappropriate for the Senate to consider the nominee of the president of the United States if that president is a Democrat. Perhaps Cotton thinks that Obama is trying to "pack the court" once again if he fulfills his constitutional duty. One open question is whether Cotton will continue to oppose any nominee from the next president, if that president is a Democrat. If his behavior regarding the D.C. Circuit is any indication, perhaps Cotton will aim to amend the constitution and just have eight seats on the Supreme Court.

Cotton was asked whether the GOP would pay a political price for their obstruction. He thinks not. 

Cotton also offered familiar demagogic talking points against criminal justice reform, and claimed that almost all federal prisoners are hardened criminals who should not be released, and that the "very rare cases where there's a manifest injustice" should be handled by presidential pardon. Cotton also made his standard case for keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open forever and ever.  

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Abuse again at Arkansas juvenile lockup

    A guard was fired after choking a child at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center. It’s the latest in a long history of mistreatment at the facility.
    • May 26, 2017
  • Health care policy FAQ

    What proposed state and federal changes mean for the future of health care policy in Arkansas.
    • May 25, 2017
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
    • May 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files. Maybe others, too

    Sen. Jakes Files has serious problems, based on an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Fort Smith. One new question is how many other legislators have problems based on spending of state surplus money?
  • Democratic Party calls for resignation of Jake Files

    The Arkansas Democratic Party says Republican Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith should resign over news about handling of state General Improvement Fund money that wound up with him, not the project for which it was intended.
  • Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

    The resistance mustered a turnout for a rare public appearance by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, which meant a ferry ride from Peel, Ark., and a drive almost to Missouri. He didn't seem happy to see them.
  • Artist Dale Chihuly's court battle

    Dale Chihuly, the visionary artist whose work is currently on exhibit at Crystal Bridges, is the subject of a New York Times feature today about an ongoing court battle and the condition of the 75-year-old artist.
  • Tuesday's open line

    The open line and video report.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Democratic Party calls for resignation of Jake Files

    • Razor/Stu: So, the fact Sen. Jake Files may have stolen some of YOUR AR Tax…

    • on August 22, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday's open line

    • "The Democrats are obstructing you from getting a massive tax cut." (If you're really, really…

    • on August 22, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday's open line

    • But wait. There's more. Now it's about the statues. "They want to take away our…

    • on August 22, 2017



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation