If Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson can hold the line against a “living constitution” Supreme Court nominee from President Obama, no other Republican senator has any excuse.
A Republican senator running for reelection in Wisconsin in a year of presidential turnout has the wind in his face – Republicans haven’t won the state in a presidential race since 1984 — and while there hasn’t been any recent polling, the 2015 polling didn’t look great for Johnson. But Johnson’s holding his ground.
A few voices on the Left accuse Johnson of flip-flopping; he’s said he supports Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s position that Obama should not pick the third justice and that the decision of replacing should ultimately be resolved by the 2016 presidential election. Johnson also said on NPR that there’s a theoretical chance he could vote for an Obama nominee – if Obama were to nominate the opposite of the kind of jurist that everyone expects.
“If President Obama were to actually nominate a justice that had that type of judicial philosophy, that kind of modesty, that kind of restraint, you know, we could confirm him,” Johnson said. “But I really seriously doubt President Obama will do that.”
His Senate campaign is enjoying pointing out that his likely Democratic rival, former senator Russ Feingold, is wildly hypocritical: He’s now saying there “absolutely should be a vote” on any Obama nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, even though Feingold supported filibustering to prevent an up-or-down vote on then-President Bush nominee Samuel Alito.