Is the Senate’s role in appointments a right? A duty? A power?
The Constitution’s framers clearly considered what would happen if one branch of government failed to act. Article I, Section 7 says: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it.” The omission of a similar provision for the Senate’s failure to consider a nomination must have been intentional.
That the Senate’s stance is constitutional, however, does not make it right. Many constitutional powers would wreak havoc if used without limit. For example, the president could pardon all federal prisoners; the pardon power must have been granted on the implied condition that he would not. The Senate’s power to block all nominees must have come with a similar understanding.