Senator Cotton’s column for this week is below. Please find a high-resolution photo attached or for download here.
After the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court and the American people must fully understand what is at stake in choosing the person to fill that vacancy. If President Obama has his way, Justice Scalia will be replaced by a liberal justice who will uphold his agenda. This means that long after President Obama leaves office, America and Arkansas will be dealing with the consequences of his appointment.
Take a moment to consider these consequences. A liberal Justice appointed by President Obama may mean that the individual right to keep and bear arms will be nullified. It could also mean the President’s extra-constitutional executive order to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants will be upheld, trampling the separation of powers and the will of the American people. Another possibility is that a liberal justice will uphold President Obama’s plan to destroy America’s coal industry, destroying thousands of jobs and steady income for American families. None of the scenarios are good.
Because so much depends on who the new Justice is, we cannot rush into this decision. We have an election in November. In a few short months, we will have a new President and new Senators who can consider the next Justice with the full faith of the people. Why would we cut off the national debate on the next Justice? Why would we squelch the voice of the populace? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make-up of the Supreme Court?
My Democratic colleagues argue that the American people have already weighed in on the Supreme Court pick by re-electing President Obama in 2012. But I would remind those that make this argument that the Constitution requires two institutions—the presidency and the Senate—to agree upon a new Justice. And in 2014, the voters overwhelmingly chose to send Republicans to the Senate, making clear their dissatisfaction with this president’s cavalier attitude toward the Constitution and his duty to execute the laws as written. If the 2014 election meant anything, it meant that Americans do not want this president to determine alone the course of American law for a generation in the Supreme Court. When you elected me in 2014 to represent you, you sent me to Washington with the mandate to act as a check on this president. And I will carry out that mandate.
In the coming months, there is much work for Congress to do. We must pass a bill to fund and rebuild our military. We must continue to improve the conditions for wage growth and the creation of new jobs. We must conduct stringent oversight to rein in the excesses of a president on a quixotic pursuit of a legacy. But with regard to a Supreme Court nomination, the only task for this Senate is this: to patiently wait and listen to what the American people have to say.