Justice

GOP Senator Breaks Ranks, Calls Party’s Supreme Court Strategy ‘Obstructionist’

CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Senate Republicans’ widespread vow to automatically block any Supreme Court nominee President Obama puts forth may be wavering.

Within minutes of Justice Antonin Scalia passing away on Saturday, Republicans declared that they would automatically block any replacement Obama would appoint during the 11 months he has left in office. Soon after, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his intention to block any replacement until a new president takes office in 2017.

But a conservative senator from North Carolina is breaking with his colleagues and calling for the GOP to at least give consideration to a potential replacement.

Appearing on The Tyler Cralle Show on Tuesday morning, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) cautioned against vowing to automatically block any nominee.

“I think we fall into the trap if just simply say sight unseen, we fall into the trap of being obstructionists,” Tillis said.

Listen to it (relevant portion begins at 1:58):

Still, Tillis, who was elected to the Senate in 2014, did not sound like a man ready to vote a potential Obama nominee, even if he believes the person deserves a hearing. “If he puts forth someone that we think is in the mold of President Obama’s vision for America, then we’ll use every device available to block that nomination,” Tillis said. He advised the president to nominate someone who has “an almost identical resume and capabilities of Justice Scalia.”

Even so, the fact that a senator is willing to go against his party and say that Obama’s potential nominee deserves to be considered is a noteworthy break with the current Republican majority.