With the passing of Antonin Scalia, many a thing has been put forward but history was not one of them. Suddenly there were rules that never existed. There is the Constitution. There is no such thing as the Thurmond rule.
Before the death had barely been announced, it was stated, tweeted, announced and put in a debate that President Obama should not nominate a successor and that the Republican-led Senate would not and should not consider any nominee. This instantly means that the President is only President for three years and no one, no matter how qualified, will be considered. I also would point out that some of the harsher statements were walked back.
To announce that no nominee will receive even a hearing or a vote is actually the only part of this mess that is unprecedented. Playing politics is not new when it comes to nominations. Even if we put the whole thing down as this is payback for Bork or Obama voting for cloture in 2006, I am still reminded of one thing: This is the Supreme Court of the United States whose members appointments are controlled not by an amendment but the Constitution. It says very clearly the President shall nominate and the Senate will use "advise and consent" on the nomination. The Constitution does not say that a group of politicians shall stand and claim that they are getting even for past actions like eight-year-olds on the playground.
I have one more comment about the arguments that this is payback or an election year choice and "elections have consequences":
If what was done was wrong in the past, does doing it wrong in the present make it right? Does the election we had in 2012 not count in its consequence? One cannot ignore the election of the past because you have an election in the future.
I am not a Constitutional expert but I see nothing about Presidents losing power to nominate in an election year. I also see nothing about the Senate refusing or delaying its "advice and consent" because it is an election year. This is what it says in The Constitution, "he (The President) shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law..."
Two wrongs still do not make a right.