The predictable answer: “let the people decide” and “it’s a vendetta”
The question: What did Senator Capito and our local Ogden newspapers say in 2016 about replacing a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year?
As Senator Shelley Moore Capito awaits her Republican talking points on voting on a new U.S. Supreme Court justice, I thought it might be informative to see what our senator said four years ago.
On March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama introduced Merrick Garland as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, immediately argued that this should wait until after the presidential elections to let the newly-elected president decide.
WV's Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, quickly followed suit:
My full statement on today’s #SCOTUS announcement. #GiveThePeopleAVoice pic.twitter.com/ioGQtvdlMD— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) March 16, 2016
The next day, the Wheeling Intelligencer reported:
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, say they have a constitutional obligation to give Obama’s nominee fair consideration, while Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio believe it should be up to the next president to choose a justice who could tip the balance of power on the nation’s highest court – now, with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, evenly divided between jurists seen as liberal and conservative.
Our local Ogden “newspapers” went further: Garland should be rejected because he is an Obama appointee and against coal
It took all of two days for the Intelligencer to weigh-in on the Garland nomination. They skipped the “election year” argument and the possibility of examining Garland’s qualifications preferring instead to attack Obama. Without any evidence, the editorial asserted that Merrick’s nomination was part of Obama’s “vendetta” against the coal industry and should be immediately rejected. From their editorial:
Obama Court Pick Is Not Acceptable
Neither Sen. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., nor Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., should fall for President Barack Obama’s ploy to use a Supreme Court nomination to further his vendetta against coal and reasonably priced electricity.
(For readers who are new to this blog, “vendetta” was the most frequently used word that our local papers used to describe Barack Obama’s actions against the coal industry, and by extension, West Virginia. It should be noted that the papers never once explained how the meaning of the word “vendetta” (“a blood feud”) applied to either the industry or the state or why the President had one. (See here, for more on this.)
I'll try to follow what Senator Capito says on this although I doubt that any media source will try to pin her down with her comments from four years ago.