Sen. Ted Cruz’s sudden dramatic announcement that he is abandoning his efforts to select a replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens — a move that raises troubling questions about whether he will play a direct role in the selection of a successor — prompts other Republicans to seek ways to delay an election without having to assemble a court-packing majority.
On Saturday, the day after Cruz’s remarks, Cruz announced his readiness to put together a list of names he will let the other Republican Senators consider if they nominate someone who is deemed acceptable to the conservative court. He offered few other details other than that he would contact other Republican senators to do the same, so that each senator has at least 60 days before the next election to name a Supreme Court nominee.
“I will raise my concerns with all of my colleagues to ensure that their voices are heard and have a real opportunity to have input,” Cruz said.
Cruz has pointed to the retirements of two appeals court judges as evidence that Chief Justice John Roberts was indeed more conservative than he announced in his 2010 re-election campaign, a presumption given that both judges were conservatives who should have been elevated to the Supreme Court.
Cruz’s announcement has created some uncertainty about whether such an elevated court majority is possible with a full Senate, and what implications such a requirement would have for the court’s swing vote — the person who gets to write that opinion. Two reasons can give some conservatives pause: the potential clash between a diverse group of members and the judges themselves, and the relatively low number of cases decided by the three Justices.