Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says Senate Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominees is unprecedented.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not hold hearings or permit a vote in the wake of for any nomination by President Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this month.
In a conference call with reporters today, Brown was joined by Ohio State constitutional law professor Peter Shane. He says the high court can still function with eight justices, but it sets a dangerous precedent.
“The dismissal, postponement or 4-4 affirmative cases all mean prolonged uncertainty in the interpretation of federal law. They are really second-best solutions to the court being able to do its business with a full roster.”
Sen. Brown says this is one final effort by Republicans to de-legitimize the president.
"This is a question of going to work. Senators -- we fight to get these jobs; we work hard to get these jobs. We take an oath of office. We should do our work. We're elected to do this. I guess the majority in the Senate just doesn't plan to come to work for the next eight or nine months?"
The longest nomination process for a Supreme Court justice was 125 days. Since 1975, the average time from nomination to Senate vote has been 67 days. The last justice to be confirmed in a presidential election year was President Reagan’s nominee, Anthony Kennedy in 1988.