Both Tennessee candidates for U.S. Senate weighed in and the length of tone of their responses would appear to make it clear Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) sees this as a clear winning issue for her campaign. Bredesen’s statement was predictable political blather, at best.
Bredesen said a candidate’s character and qualifications are more important than party lines.
“I just think we have such a partisan mess in Washington right now,” Bredesen said Wednesday in Nashville. “This is a real chance to start unwinding that in something that is very visible and important to the country.”
Blackburn also released a statement on Twitter, calling the confirmation of Supreme Court justices “one of the Senate’s most important responsibilities.”
“As Tennessee’s next senator, I will be committed to confirming more judges, like Neil Gorsuch, who will honor and uphold our Constitution,” Blackburn said. “I will vote to confirm good constitutional justices who will not be activists and legislate from the bench.”
In a statement Wednesday, Blackburn said that Tennesseans want a justice “who will respect both the Constitution and the rule of law.”
“They do not want an activist Supreme Court Justice who will seek to legislate from the bench,” she said. “As Tennessee’s next Senator, I will vote to confirm constitutional justices, who will follow the rule of law and do not legislate from the bench. It’s absolutely critical to confirm justices who understand the importance of upholding the Constitution, including the right to life.”
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer wants Republicans to wait to vote on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement until after the midterm elections, given their opposition to Barack Obama’s election-year nomination of Merrick Garland. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be having none of that.
“Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016, not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year. Senator McConnell would tell anyone who would listen that the Senate had the right to advise and consent and that was every bit as important as the president’s right to nominate,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, hours after Kennedy announced his retirement.
Tennesseans may recall that Schumer personally recruited Phil Bredesen to run for Senate this Fall. Meanwhile, McConnell let his thoughts be known almost immediately via Twitter.
The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) June 27, 2018
As the Washington Post rightly points out, control of the Senate just became that much more important as an issue in this year’s mid-terms.
If the Democrats run the table on their side and pick up two of the Republican toss-ups — the seat left vacant by the retirements of Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) or Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), for example — they have a majority.
In essence, a vote for Phil Bredesen for Senate would be a vote against allowing President Trump to do with the Supreme Court exactly what many elected him to do, shift it to the right.