All constitutional experts agree that President Obama has the power to appoint a justice of his choosing and fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, without a Senate confirmation hearing. On January 3, 2017, and that day alone.
Should Obama walk away from that, he would validate and legitimatize the Republican act of piracy. Moreover, he would be complicit in the greatest judicial coup in U.S. history. He would in effect become an active partner, a facilitator to the injustice.
The American voters perception is that Democrats don’t fight, costing them dearly at the polls in 2016 and it will cost them every time, until they demonstrate that they will.
The composition of the Supreme Court is arguably of greater consequence than the office of the president. Obama can lead that fight or run away from it. But he can’t do both