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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Alan Grayson wants Obama to make recess appointment to fill Scalia's SCOTUS seat



In keeping with a campaign to brand himself as an anti-establishment candidate in the Democratic primary for Florida's U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson has his own ideas on how President Barack Obama should fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of the justice's death on Saturday.

Most Republicans -- including candidates for Florida's seat -- say either that Obama should not bother nominating someone during his final year in office or, that if Obama does, the Senate should block any attempt to confirm that nominee. Meanwhile, most Democrats argue it's the president's duty to nominate and the Senate's obligation to consider a nominee regardless of how much time is left in Obama's term.

But Grayson, D-Orlando, said in a campaign statement Monday evening he supports what would be an unconventional and highly controversial approach: Bypass the Senate's Republican majority altogether by appointing someone this week while the chamber isn't in session.

And he has a name in mind: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who -- like Grayson -- is a staunch progressive.

“She’s earned it, and she deserves it,” Grayson said. “And she’ll be so, so good at it.”

Obama was already quick to say over the weekend that he had no intention of making a recess appointment to the country's top bench.

But Grayson wrote in a column for The Huffington Post that if Obama took action now, "Justice Warren could take office immediately. The obstructionists in the GOP couldn't do anything about it."

He argued that if Obama delayed and later offered her up as a nominee, Warren might be more easily confirmed by the Senate because she's "one of their own."

"Would obstructionists in the Senate filibuster an Elizabeth Warren appointment, or vote against her? Maybe. But that seems like poor form against one of their own, for a place as clubby as the U.S. Senate," Grayson wrote.

While Grayson says Warren is "eminently qualified" to be a jurist -- because of nearly two decades' experience as a Harvard law professor and her "tireless and effective" work as a U.S. senator -- she's not among any of the short-lists of nominees Obama is said to be considering.

Grayson is in a contentious Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, in the race to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. Murphy has the backing of the party establishment (including many sitting Democratic U.S. senators), while many progressives support Grayson.

Warren hasn't endorsed either candidate in the race.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 9:39am]


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