On Monday Senate Republicans and GOP presidential candidates were united on refusing to allow President Obama a Senate vote or even a hearing on a successor to fill the late Justice Scalia's vacancy on the Supreme Court.
A few days later, some cracks are showing in the wall of opposition.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, who said Saturday it "only makes sense" to let the next president pick the justice, wouldn't rule out holding hearings for Obama's eventual pick.
“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions,” Grassley told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday, according to Radio Iowa. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”
Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, also sounded skeptical of simply rejecting any nominee at the outset.
"I think we fall into the trap if we just simply say, sight unseen—we fall into the trap of being obstructionists," Tillis said on The Tyler Cralle Show.
"All we're trying to say is that based on the president's actions, it is highly unlikely" he'll nominate someone in the mold of Scalia, he added. "And if he puts forth someone that we think is in the mold of President Obama's vision for America then we'll use every device available to block that nomination."
The slight cracks in what has been a rallying cry among the party's base of "no hearings, no votes" doesn't mean a confirmation is particularly likely, at least before the November elections.
It's almost like some Senate Republicans realize that they only have a four-seat majority in the Senate, something that Democrats could easily overturn if motivated enough in November, and that President Obama has outmaneuvered them before or something.
Two Republican senators from liberal states, in separate statements, did not call for blocking an Obama nominee.
"The political debate erupting about prospective nominees to fill the vacancy is unseemly," said Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is facing a tough re-election fight this year. "Let us take the time to honor his life before the inevitable debate erupts."
Senator Susan Collins of Maine said it's "premature" to speculate on a successor so soon after Scalia's death. But the centrist Republican indicated that the Senate has a duty to consider nominees on their merits.
"More than any other appointment upon which the Senate is called to pass judgment, nominees to the Supreme Court warrant in-depth consideration given the importance of their constitutional role and their lifetime tenure," Collins said. "Our role in the Senate is to evaluate the nominee's temperament, intellect, experience, integrity, and respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Why, I'd almost say that some Republicans realize the potential danger of refusing to even hold a hearing, much less a full Senate vote on something like a Supreme Court nominee, and knowing that would be something even our terrible media couldn't spin as anything other than blanket hatred of this President, especially if he nominated somebody already confirmed by Senate Republicans as say, the current Attorney General or unanimously as a DC Circuit Court judge.
Senate Republicans are a lot of awful things, but even they see that the light at the end of this particular 11-month tunnel is an incoming train.
“Justice Scalia’s passing means the court hangs in the balance,” Clinton said. “Now the Republicans say they’ll reject anyone President Obama nominates, no matter how qualified. Some are even saying he doesn’t have the right to nominate anyone! As if somehow he’s not the real president.
“That’s in keeping with what we’ve heard all along, isn’t it? Many Republicans talk in coded, racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country.”
This is gonna hurt, boys.