CNN Presidential Historian: “Of Course” No Historical Precedent Exists Preventing Obama From Filling SCOTUS Vacancy

Douglas Brinkley: “He's Doing His Job. He Has A Vacant Seat To Fill ... And He Wants The Senate To Act Responsibly”

From the February 17 edition of CNN's New Day:

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CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): Douglas, let's start with you. Just so that we can all have history in context. This is really about politics. That's the argument that we've been forwarding here on New Day. When you look at the Constitution, when you look at historical precedent, is there any legitimate basis for saying we don't do this in the final year of a presidential term? We traditionally don't this, as a matter of fact, we hold off on these types of appointments and these types of hearings. Is there any basis for that in fact? 

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: Well, of course not. That's not in our U.S. Constitution, and that was the point President Obama was making from Rancho Mirage yesterday, that he's doing his job. He has a vacant seat to fill. He plans to nominate somebody, and he wants the Senate to act responsibly. But as you intimated, this is a heavy political season. 2016's one of the most brutal moments in partisan warfare in the recent annals of American history. So it's unlikely the President's going to be able to get anybody through this year. But he very well might be able to get a Senate hearing, particularly if he can get Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, you know, at least the bucking Mitch McConnell crowd and saying, look, maybe we do, at least need to give -- if Obama picks somebody -- a public hearing, we'll have to see on that.


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