Ronald Reagan almost appears to be speaking from beyond the grave to Republicans vowing to block any Supreme Court nominee submitted by President Barack Obama.
In this clip from C-SPAN, the Gipper urges the Democrat-controlled Senate to confirm Anthony Kennedy, who he nominated to the Supreme Court late in 1987. Kennedy was ultimately confirmed in February 1988 by a 97-0 vote.
At the time, Reagan called on all Americans to "join together in a bipartisan effort to fulfill our constitutional obligation of restoring the United States Supreme Court to full strength." He also asked the Senate for "prompt hearings conducted in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship."
Unlike today's Republicans, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee did not threaten to block the nomination nor urge Reagan to leave the seat vacant for the next president to fill.
"I'm glad the president has made his choice," said then-Sen. Joe Biden, according to a report in The New York Times from Nov. 12, 1987. "We will get the process under way and move as rapidly as is prudent. We want to conduct the committee's review with both thoroughness and dispatch.'"
Kennedy was actually Reagan's third choice to fill the seat that vacated by Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., who retired in June 1987. The Senate rejected his first choice, Robert Bork, while his second, Douglas H. Ginsburg, withdrew from consideration when it was revealed he had smoked marijuana.
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