Fox's MacCallum Grills GOP Senator Mike Lee Over SCOTUS Obstruction
Martha MacCallum Tells Lee: Your Obstruction Is "Somewhat Surprising" Because You're "Such An Adherent To The Constitution"
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From the February 24 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): The president has laid out I think what anyone would say is a very fair set of circumstances for nominating someone, so why not give this person hearing?
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): OK that all sounds great. We do have to remember Martha, we're talking about a lame duck president in his final months of office who is talking about making a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, a court which in recent years has played an increasingly large role in the development of public policy. And we think the American people have a voice, that voice should be heard and the American people ought to be able to choose their next president and have the next president, whether that's a Republican or Democrat, make the choice.
MACCALLUM: Yeah but I think, senator, with all due respect, wouldn't the American people say we elected President Obama? We also elected the senators who are currently in office, and we expect them both, on both sides to do their job. The president's job is to name a nominee, your job is to give that person a hearing and either appoint or not. Either consent, to give consent, or not. So why not go through the process? Why do you get to decide that?
LEE: You're absolutely right that elections have consequences. President Obama was elected again as president in 2012. Senate elections also have consequences and when Republicans were elected to the majority in the Senate after the 2014 elections, we had an increasingly large role to play in the system. Now you're also absolutely right, the president has the right to nominate. That is his prerogative. It's also the Senate's right to decide when, whether, how, to what extent, to confirm someone and here what we're saying is, we think that it's very important to maintain a tradition, a tradition that goes all the way back to 1888 by the way. 1888 was the last time you had a Supreme Court vacancy arise during a presidential election year, and the last time that that vacancy arising during the presidential election year was filled during the same year, and confirmed by a Senate that was run by a party opposite the president's party.
MACCALLUM: I think everybody listens to that and understands what you are saying and that there's -- but I don't think that gets around the basic requirement to do the job, to go through the process and if you all decide that you don't want to give consent to that person, well that's absolutely your right. And just given your background and being such an adherent to the Constitution, it seems somewhat surprising I think to some people to take that attitude. And it also feeds in perhaps to the notion that people in your position don't want to -- are blocking things from happening on Capitol Hill.
LEE: We are blocking this from happening, make no mistake about it. We are blocking this one. And we feel it's our obligation to do so. We think that especially with this president who has overstepped his constitutional boundaries so many times -- [CROSSTALK]
MACCALLUM: But then why does it make it right on to do that on your side? You can look at this person and say 'no thank you, we don't like this person,' but why the hesitation to have a hearing? To do the process? I think that's what people have a hard time understanding.