"How the deadlocked Supreme Court became a leading campaign issue" PBS NewsHour 10/4/2016
NOTE: Mitch McConnell does NOT make a logical (nor Constitutional) argument. He can get what he wants by bringing the President's nomination to the floor for a vote then get it disapproved, then the next President would have to submit a nominee.
What he (and Republicans) fear it that Merrick Garland WOULD be approved.
SUMMARY: The Supreme Court has refused to rehear a case over President Obama's executive action aimed at protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The decision reflects the continuing difficulty of the court's deadlock without a ninth justice. Gwen Ifill looks at the implications of the deadlock and how the prospect of a new justice is influencing the presidential race.
GWEN IFILL (NewsHour): The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal this week to rehear a key immigration case dealt a setback to millions of undocumented immigrants hoping to stay in the U.S. legally.
It also reflects the continuing difficulty of deadlock, in this case, the limitations of an eight-person bench. The issue of the immigration program's legality could yet return to the high court, but one whose makeup is likely to be decided by the next President.
Twelve-year-old Victoria Bonilla, like many seventh graders, spends weeknights hammering away at her homework. Unlike her classmates, she worries her mom won't always be there to help.
VICTORIA BONILLA: I'm worried that they might take my mom away from me, which is really hard for a kid, because, like, you know you can't live without your mom.
GWEN IFILL: Victoria is an only child and a U.S. citizen. But she was born to a mother who came to the country illegally, from Eli Salvador in 2004.
The Bonillas live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a Washington suburb, where Hilaria works as a restaurant manager. She says she moved to the U.S. to escape domestic abuse, one of an estimated four million parents who would have qualified for legal status under a 2014 executive action issued by President Obama.
The President's plan was blocked by a Texas federal judge last year, leaving families like the Bonillas in limbo. The [Supreme] court deadlocked 4-4 when it heard the case earlier this year, leaving the lower court's hold in place.
And with the ninth seat vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia's death nearly eight months ago, there is no resolution in sight.
NewsHour regular Marcia Coyle covers the court for “The National Law Journal.”
MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal: This is such an important issue, it may be well that the court is willing to take another shot at it if it does have a ninth justice eventually.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge, Merrick Garland.
GWEN IFILL: President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, has languished without a confirmation hearing since March, after the Republican Senate majority declared it was too late in the President's term to allow him a nomination.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Senate Majority Leader: The American people may well elect a President who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next President may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.
GWEN IFILL: The conservative Judicial Crisis Network has spent more than $4 million opposing Garland's confirmation.
CARRIE SEVERINO, Judicial Crisis Network: The Constitution gives the authority to choose the Supreme Court justices to the President, as the nominator, and then to the Senate, which gives its advice and consent. And there's a lot of ways it can do that. It doesn't have to have hearings or votes on a specific schedule. And, historically, two-thirds of the justices who have not been confirmed, who've been rejected by the Senate, it's been because they didn't get a vote.
First Monday in October
"Will the short-staffed Supreme Court keep a ‘low profile’ this term?" PBS NewsHour 10/5/2016
SUMMARY: As the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat remains empty, the Supreme Court begins a new term with only eight members. What challenges will arise from the reduced size of the nation's highest court? Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal joins Jeffrey Brown to discuss that question, as well as a recent case on racial bias and the death penalty and other matters expected to be heard this term.