With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican party has waged a rhetorical war against any nomination President Barack Obama might make for a successor. As of this week, that nominee has a name: Merrick Garland. While Garland’s previous vetting en route to the Federal Appellate bench was strongly bi-partisan and without controversy, his road to the Supreme Court may be yet more rocky.

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican party has waged a rhetorical war against any nomination President Barack Obama might make for a successor. As of this week, that nominee has a name: Merrick Garland. While Garland’s previous vetting en route to the Federal Appellate bench was strongly bi-partisan and without controversy, his road to the Supreme Court may be yet more rocky.


This owes in large part to the Republican party’s myopic determination to thwart anything vaguely Obama-related. To characterize this latest round of obstructionist bluster as childish would be far too charitable.


Take for instance one of the many gems spewed by members of Arkansas’ own Congressional delegation. Sen. Tom Cotton released a press statement on the matter: "In a few short months, we will have a new President and new Senators who can consider the next Justice with the full faith of the people. Why would we cut off the national debate on the next Justice? Why would we squelch the voice of the populace? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make-up of the Supreme Court?"


Of the Republican ballyhoo, Cotton’s remarks are typical. They seek to cast confirmation of any Obama nominee as somehow undercutting the "voice of the people." Horse-hockey.


The historical record is far clearer. If this confirmation would represent an undermining of the public will, then a whole host of U.S. presidents — both Republican and Democratic — have been the "Underminers in Chief" for more than a century.


As Amy Howe, writing for scotusblog.com states, "The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election." As Howe continues, "In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years."


Even Saint Ronald Reagan made such an appointment. On Nov. 30, 1987, Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Louis Powell. A Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Kennedy in February 1988, by a vote of 97 to 0.


Where were the hue and cries of a disenfranchised vox populi then? Facts being what they are, the Republicans are on the wrong side of history. As Howe attests, only twice in the last century have presidents been unable to nominate and have confirmed a replacement for the Court. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower faced an adjourned Senate when Justice Sherman Minton announced his retirement. Eisenhower made a recess appointment of William Brennan, who was later nominated and confirmed to the seat.


The second, concerned the possibility of Justice Abe Fortis’ elevation to Chief Justice when it was believed that Earl Warren was about to retire. While Fortis’ nomination drew immense criticism (and a bi-partisan filibuster), the process was obviated when Warren decided to remain on the bench.


In neither instance did the process hinge on whether a president was correct in making an election year appointment. Republicans don’t acknowledge this because they don’t want to. Their blind rage against Obama won’t let them.


In short, it’s time for the Republican party to grow up, suck it up and deal with the reality of Obama. The people have spoken. They twice voted to give Barack Obama the mantle of the presidency and all that entails, including the discretion to make nominations to federal positions. Why are Republican silencing those voices? Republicans like to wrap themselves in the Constitution when it suits their needs, but shed it just as quickly when they are rationalizing their own pursuits.


They should just be thankful the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution exists; otherwise they’d likely get to enjoy a third Obama term.