(COMMON DREAMS) Eric Boehlert, February 16, 2016 — In the wake of Antonin Scalia’s sudden death, the Beltway press almost immediately began to seamlessly frame the unfolding debate about the Supreme Court Justice’s replacement along the contours of Republican talking points. To do so, the press continued its habit of looking away from the GOP’s stunning record of institutional obstructionism since 2009.
Immediately after the news broke of Scalia’s passing, Republican Senate leaders, GOP presidential candidates, and conservative commentators declared that the job of picking Scalia’s replacement should be performed not by President Obama, but by his successor.
Quickly suggesting that Obama was picking a “fight” with Republicans by signaling he plans to fulfill his constitutional duty by nominating Scalia’s successor, the press aided Republicans by presenting this radical plan to obstruct the president as being an unsurprising move that Democrats would likely copy if put in the same position during an election year. (Given the rarity of the situation precedents aren’t perfect, but it’s worth mentioning that during the election year of 1988, Democrats actually did the opposite, confirming Justice Anthony Kennedy unanimously.)