Mitch McConnell’s plan to obstruct President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, by holding no meetings, hearings, or votes is coming closer to collapse as eight Senate Republicans have stated that they will meet with the nominee.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said:
Sen Susan Collins says she talked w/Potus recently & she'll meet w/#Scotus nom Garland. "I view it as my job."
— Lisa Mascaro (@LisaMascaro) March 16, 2016
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said that he will meet with anyone:
.@JeffFlake will meet with Garland: "I meet with anyone."
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 16, 2016
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told CNN:
Portman said "not in the habit of turning down meetings" but if he did meet w/Garland he didn't think would be good use of judge's time
— Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn) March 16, 2016
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said, “While I will evaluate the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, the next president should be the one to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. President Obama has worked to ram through his liberal agenda by way of executive actions, of which many are now tied up in the courts. This has created a situation where we need to be cautious as to who will fill the vacancy left behind by Justice Scalia. It makes the current presidential election all that more important as not only are the next four years in play, but an entire generation of Americans will be impacted by the balance of the court and its rulings. Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid have all made statements that the Senate does not have to confirm presidential nominations in an election year. I will oppose this nomination as I firmly believe we must let the people decide the Supreme Court’s future.”
Even Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is open to a meeting:
— Jason Noble (@jasonnobleDMR) March 16, 2016
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi said:
GOP MS Sen Thad Cochran: I will give any consideration to a nominee. It’s a very important position. #SCOTUS (but doesn't elaborate)
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 16, 2016
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire also said that she would meet with President Obama’s nominee. These seven Republicans have joined Mark Kirk of Ilinois in defying Mitch McConnell’s blockade of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
Compare the stance of the eight Republicans with McConnell’s own quote on not taking a meeting with the nominee, “Well, look, I don’t know how many times we need to keep saying this. The Judiciary Committee has unanimously recommended to me that there be no hearings. I’ve said repeatedly, and I’m now confident my conference agrees, that this decision ought to be made by the next president, whoever is elected. I don’t know the purpose of such a visit. I would not be inclined to take one, myself.”
It took just a few hours for President Obama to fracture Senate Republicans and break through Mitch McConnell’s plan to obstruct his Supreme Court nominee. Senate Republicans are already in retreat, and it is just a matter of time until Mitch McConnell caves and backs down.