Their argument was that, well gosh, since this is an election year leave it to the next President to pick somebody. As though Obama stopped getting a paycheck for being President some time back in December 2015. As though they refuse to respect the fact that the Constitution's only deadline to an elected President's tenure is the day he officially leaves office.
The Republicans keep bringing up the time in 1992 when Joe Biden was quoted as saying for then-President Bush the Elder to not, you know, consider nominating anyone for vacant seats during his re-election bid. Ignoring the fact that in the same speech Biden said it was still the Senate's duty to advise and consent if Bush did bring such nominees to their chamber.
The Republicans are also ignoring the facts that previous times any President dealt with Supreme Court - or any judicial - vacancies in his last year of office those Presidents did indeed proceed to nominate replacements and the Senate did indeed considered and voted on them (except for one, Fortas in 1968, under unusual circumstances).
And yet, despite history and tradition and Constitutional requirements, here's our Republican-led Senate flat-out telling the nation that if Obama comes to them with a Supreme Court nominee that they won't even let him in the front door (per The Atlantic):
“The election is well underway, so I believe the overwhelming view of the Republican conference in the Senate is that this nomination should not be filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday afternoon. McConnell’s second-in-command, Senator John Cornyn, said members of the Judiciary Committee were “unanimous” in their view that there should no hearing for Obama's nominee. “The reason for that is, it’s not about the personality, it’s about the principle,” Cornyn said. Taking matters a step further, both McConnell and Cornyn said they were not inclined even to meet with the person Obama picks—a traditional first step in any nomination process.
So by the Republicans' own logic that a "lame-duck President" shouldn't do anything, since this is an election year for 24 Republican Senators their decisions and their votes shouldn't even matter because "the American people" back home should decide if those 24 Senators should even come back.
The way these 24 Republican Senators are acting - ignoring their oaths of office, ignoring the need to fill any and all vacancies in our Judicial system to the best of their ability - none of them deserve to come back.
Oh, and for the record, these same damn Republicans have been treating Obama like a "lame-duck President" since January 2009. They're just being blatant and openly disrespectful now.
If there is truly a Just and Loving God in this world, Obama will continue to review his nominee options, select the most qualified Left-Center candidate he has, and make the announcement. Play this game. Force the Senate to look like whiny babies refusing to do their job while you bring up an accomplished and qualified jurist while doing yours.
Take this on tour to every state where a Republican Senator - even the solid Red ones - is up for re-election. Point out the necessity of having a full bench on the Supreme Court (that the possibilities of 4-4 ties throws legal decisions back down to the lower courts and into confusion). Point out the requirements of the oath of office a Senator has to uphold (you should speak from experience as a former Senator yourself).
Point out the fact that current polling of "the American People" - that the GOP Senate is using as an excuse to do nothing - is fully in favor of Obama doing his job nominating Scalia's replacement and for the Senate to do theirs by considering that nomination (the Senate still has the right to say No after the hearing).
Meanwhile, if the Republican Senate is waiting on the next President to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court, the American People should make it their duty and obligation to vote this November 2016 for a Democratic President just to f-ck these Obstructionist Do-Nothing Layabouts in the Senate. Let's see Mitch McConnell choke on the reality of Hillary Clinton nominating Scalia's replacement, and better yet with a Democratic Senate in charge and more than willing to do their damn jobs.
For all the yelling and screaming from the Beltway Media Elites about the breakdown of "bipartisanship", this current conniption from the Republicans is full proof of where the damn breakdown came from, and who is responsible (hint: NOT Obama), and who deserves to suffer for it when the voters make their decisions this year (vote the damn Republican bums out).