Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid condemned the Republican Party for threatening to block President Obama's nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death, and said the Senate has historically confirmed court nominees in both election years and years of the presidency."
"Having gridlocked the Senate for years, Republicans now want to gridlock the Supreme Court with a campaign of partisan sabotage aimed at denying the president's constitutional duty to pick nominees," Reid wrote in a Monday evening Washington Post op-ed. "Republicans should not insult the American people's intelligence by pretending there is historical precedent for what they are about to do. There is not."
Following Scalia's death, Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail have argued that the next president should choose Scalia's replacement, while Democrats argued that Obama should choose the nominee.
Detailing the historic precedent for Senate confirmations of Supreme Court justices during election years, the Nevada Democrat explained that in 1988 a Democratic Senate confirmed President Ronald Reagan's confirmation of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The Nevada senator also said "there is still time for the heated rhetoric to yield to reason action."
Republicans say Democrats are ignoring their own efforts to block Republican nominations when it suited them. In 2007, for example, Sen. Chuck Schumer attempted to block the appointment of a President George W. Bush Supreme Court nominee.
Still, Reid insisted that it's now past time to play partisan games over the Supreme Court.
"If there were ever a time to take a stand for moderation and common sense, this is it," Reid concluded. "I have participated in my fair share of fights over the judiciary. But throughout them all, we always guaranteed Supreme Court nominees a fair hearing and a floor vote."