ORLANDO — U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, an Orlando Democrat and current candidate for the U.S. Senate, has mounted an Internet campaign urging President Obama to appoint Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Ken Scudder, Grayson’s communications director, told the Florida Record that the effort so far has garnered 22,494 signatures. One of the congressman’s recent suggestions involves naming Warren to the high court as a temporary recess appointment, meaning that she would be able to serve through the next Senate session — that is, the end of 2017.
“She would be a champion for progressivism and the proper role for the Constitution in our daily lives," Grayson told the Record on Wednesday.
The congressman wrote in a recent blog post for the Huffington Post that Warren was “a Harvard Law professor for almost two decades — in fact, the only one there with tenure who had attended a public university. Her scholarly work is renowned; she is one of the most frequently cited law professors of all time.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced last month that the Senate would not consider a replacement for Scalia until after the 2016 presidential election, thereby challenging the president’s authority to nominate a new justice for Senate consideration. That could lead to a year-long political impasse over a permanent replacement to fill Scalia’s seat.
Grayson explained that Republican opponents in the Senate might well filibuster an effort by Obama to appoint Warren, but he contends that it would be more difficult for the senators to oppose “one of their own.”
The congressman told the Record that he wasn’t concerned about Warren’s lack of judicial experience.
“There have been 14 senators and 18 members of Congress who have been appointed to the Supreme Court” over the history of the nation, Grayson said. Those appointees make up about one-third of all the appointees to the court. Many of them also did not have formal judicial experience, he added.
So far, Grayson had not received any response from the White House or his colleagues in Congress about the idea of appointing Warren to the high court.
He pointed out in other news media articles that in contrast to other high court appointees, Warren completed her law studies at public schools and has more of a working-class perspective. The senator gained national recognition through her criticism of financial intuitions and Wall Street for contributing to the financial collapse during the late 2000s.
Grayson also stressed that the high court was in need of someone with Warren’s well-honed communication skills. In 2014, Warren took on the challenge of reformulating the Democratic Party’s priorities through her service on the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
Warren herself has urged the president and Senate to move forward quickly with a nominee to replace Scalia so the court can get on with its crucial business. A recent tweet from Warren said, “The Senate GOP took an oath just like the Dems did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold threatens the Constitution and our democracy.”
The congressman’s Internet petition drive is being paid for by the Committee to Elect Alan Grayson.