In the hours following Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey joined Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators promising to deny President Barack Obama’s constitutional duty to fill a Supreme Court vacancy and make replacing Scalia’s successor the largest issue of the 2016 election season.
Many of the Senators who are standing with Mitch McConnell are up for reelection this year, and are willing to use this as an issue to drive the Republican base to the polls during a presidential election year. There are more Senate Republicans up for reelection than Senate Democrats in important swing states, and Senator Toomey is one of those Republicans. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a result of the obstructionism, he is now facing one of his most formidable challenges in his 30 year career.
Progressive organizations are holding demonstrations across Pennsylvania and telling Senator Toomey to “do your job.” This morning, thirty demonstrators gathered in State College for a morning rally, and fifteen others gathered outside of the Senator’s Harrisburg office. Protesters pointed out Senator Toomey’s past obstructionism by blocking his own judicial nominees to fill federal court vacancies. More demonstrations are planned outside of his Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices throughout the rest of the week.
Jeff Garis from the Pennsylvania Budget Policy Center, a member of Pennsylvania’s Why Courts Matter coalition, asked onlookers and passerby’s who does Senator Pat Toomey represent. Does Senator Toomey represent his constituents and follow the constitution? Or does he Mitch McConnell?
— Sean Kitchen (@RCPress_Sean) March 21, 2016