GREENVILLE, SC — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), one of the Senate’s most notorious judicial appointee obstructionists, said Thursday that the Senate should not and will not confirm anyone President Obama picks to succeed Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“President Obama’s free to nominate, and we’re free not to confirm,” he told ThinkProgress. “And I don’t believe we will confirm or should.”
Lee’s communication director, Conn Carroll, was one of the first people to respond to Scalia’s death on Twitter, promising that Republicans would block anyone that Obama nominated.
What is less than zero? The chances of Obama successfully appointing a Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia?
— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
Lee largely agreed with his staffer.
“It doesn’t get less than zero but yeah, I do think his characterization is accurate in so far as talking about what should happen,” he said. “And I think it’s also accurate to say we’re not going to confirm.”
When asked whether Lee would vote to confirm a nominee if this were the last year of a Republican president’s term, Lee said the situation would be no different.
“I don’t think you will find anyone who seriously believes that if we were in the fourth year of a Mitt Romney administration or the eighth year of a John McCain administration and the Democrats were in charge of the Senate, there’s nobody who thinks that that nominee would be confirmed,” Lee said. “So I don’t see why we would do it differently.”
Current Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by a Democratic-controlled during the last year of President Ronald Reagan’s term in a unanimous vote.
As of Thursday, 33 GOP senators including Lee have said they will stand in opposition to whoever Obama nominates.