President Obama Put Forth A Supreme Court Nominee, Now The Senate Must Act
This morning, President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty and nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to be the next Supreme Court justice, citing his lengthy experience on the D.C. Circuit Court, respect among his peers and colleagues—including bipartisan praise from many senators—and his real world experience.
Chief Judge Garland has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. He has been a public servant for almost his whole career, notably leading the investigation and prosecution after the Oklahoma City bombing. Garland has been on the D.C. Circuit court—often called the second-most important court in the country—for almost two decades and has served as Chief Judge of the Court since 2013. He was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in 1997 with a 76-23 vote. Many Republican Senators still in office today voted for Garland including: Sens. Hatch, Inhofe, McCain, Roberts, Coats, Cochran, and Collins.
Before ever hearing the name of a nominee, Senate Republicans promised to refuse to even meet with the nominee, hold a hearing, or take a vote, vowing to ignore their constitutional duty. Since news broke of Garland’s nomination, a small group of Senate Republicans have broken with party leadership and said they are willing to meet with Garland. Those senators should push their leadership to call the entire senate to do its job and consider the nominee.
But before Senate Republicans vowed to obstruct the nomination process, many had positive things to say about Garland. In fact, just last week Sen. Hatch said, President Obama “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.” Here are just a few more examples of Republican Senators describing Garland’s qualifications in their own words:
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “I have nothing against the nominee. Mr. Garland seems to be well qualified and would probably make a good judge — in some other court.”
- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “He has a high position with the Department of Justice and, by all accounts, does a good job there. There will be a number of judgeship vacancies in the D.C. trial judges. He has been a trial lawyer. He would be a good person to fill one of those. I would feel comfortable supporting him for another judgeship.”
Not only would refusing to continue the nomination process with Chief Judge Garland be hypocritical, but obstruction of the nomination process threatens the stability of the law and the integrity of the Court. The stakes of this Supreme Court term are too high for Republican Senators to block any nominee. More than 100 million Americans are waiting for justice on issues from immigration to access to women’s health and more from a Supreme Court that is not at full strength. That is why the American people—by a two to one margin—want the Senate to do move forward with the confirmation process.
BOTTOM LINE: President Obama did his job, it’s time senators do theirs. President Obama has nominated a well-qualified candidate to serve as the next Supreme Court justice and bring the Court back to full strength as it weighs key issues facing Americans. It’s time the Senate stop playing politics, do their job, and move forward with the confirmation process.
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