ICYMI: Senator Inhofe’s Floor Speech on SCOTUS Nomination

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today spoke on the Senate floor on why a Supreme Court nominee should be left to the next administration and to let the people decide the future balance of the court. 

Senate Floor 3.2016

Click here to watch the video

As prepared for delivery:

Dear Senator Inhofe,

I have just learned of the death of Justice Scalia. I should only be feeling sadness at the death of this great patriot and man of the law, I am terrified of what I am sure is now already in the works, his replacement by President Barack Obama.

… The person who replaces Justice Scalia will have the potential to change the balance of power on the bench for decades and may have the possibility to reshape the political landscape immediately and unalterably.

I, therefore, beg you and all of your fellow Senators to not vote to affirm any candidate put forward by President Obama. This is an election year and the people should be given a chance to choose which direction this country will go and not have it decided by President Obama as he leaves the White House.

Please, do not vote for any candidate offered up by this Administration.

Robert from Tulsa, OK


Dear Senator Inhofe,

I have just received word of the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia. His death is a loss for the conservative movement, but I fear it also puts our country in peril.

With Scalia gone, President Obama will certainly present a nominee for his seat. If it is a justice that holds to Obama’s progressive ideals and agenda, it could mean grave danger for our Constitution.

I urge you to hold fast and refuse to confirm ANY Obama appointee to the Court. Hold out until he is out of office. I feel the future of our nation depends on it.

Donald from Chickasha, OK


Senator Inhofe,

I am contacting you in regards to the loss of Justice Scalia and his replacement. Justice Scalia was a brilliant man and a true patriot. Unfortunately, I do not feel any appointee by the President would follow the Constitution and serve with the same virtue as Justice Scalia. I am asking that you and the other members of the Senate do not confirm a new Justice until after the election, when the newly elected President can make the appointment. We have sent you to Washington to stop the agenda of the President that runs contrary to the wishes of the country. Please stand on your principles and do not allow the President to appoint another Justice that may be detrimental to our freedoms for decades to come. Thank you. 

Matthew from Claremore, OK

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of letters and calls from constituents I have received asking that the Senate wait to confirm the next Supreme Court nominee until we have a new president.

We’ve heard from our colleagues and pundits on the other side of the aisle that it is our constitutional duty to confirm President Obama’s nominations, and before they lost the majority, Senate Democrats used the nuclear option so all nominations except for the Supreme Court could be approved with a simple majority.

The Constitution says that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court…”

The Senate clearly has a role in this process and the Senate can either give its consent or it can withhold its consent and completely fulfill its constitutional duties.

It wasn’t long ago that Democrats were singing a different tune when a Republican was in the White House. Some of them, on this very floor, said the Senate does not have to confirm presidential nominations and urged that the Senate refuse to do so, especially in an election year.


Senators Obama, Biden, Clinton, Schumer and Reid all made statements to this effect and are now flipping the script.

You have to go all the way back to 1888 – 128 years – before you find a similar situation to the one we are in today. That is the last time a vacancy arose during an election year and was filled by a Senate from a party opposite of the president.

Furthermore, this president hasn’t worked with Congress on much, why should we work with him on this?

In fact, it is his very “go it alone” attitude that has created a situation where we really need to be cautious as to who will fill Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.

We have seen time and again that when President Obama is unable to get his liberal agenda through Congress he has turned to executive actions and agency rulemaking to implement his priorities.

These regulations and actions are making their way through our courts and are either going to be heard by the Supreme Court or are there right now.

President Obama’s executive amnesty was stayed by the lower courts and the Supreme Court will decide this term if that injunction will stand or not.

The Waters of the United States rule that would take the jurisdiction of our water from the states and turn it over to the federal government was stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals – this too will likely make its way to the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court is split 4-4 in these two cases, the injunctions of the lower courts will stand until the underlying issues are fully litigated.

Before the recess, one of Scalia’s last heroic acts was a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court to stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, meaning the rule is on hold until litigation is complete.

The Clean Power Plan would cost $292 billion and mandates carbon dioxide cuts from the power sector to meet Obama’s climate pledge of reducing CO2 by 26-28% by 2025 – this would cause double digit electricity price increases in 40 states.

These and other executive actions and regulations will have a big impact on our people and our economy and will all likely be decided by the Supreme Court.

And it’s not just executive actions at stake, it is the moral direction of our country too.

Just last week the Supreme Court heard a case challenging the state of Texas on its new abortion regulations that require abortion clinics meet the same standard of other out-patient surgical clinics and mandates abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

With the balance of the Supreme Court at stake, the choice to fill this vacancy will shape our nation for at least the next generation.

It is the American people who will bear the burden of these court decisions and therefore they should have a say on who will fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy.