President Obama has unleashed a powerful election-year message by calling out Senate Republicans for their historic obstruction.
The President said:
It’s now been 45 days since I nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland is a man of experience, integrity, and unimpeachable qualifications. Judge Garland is someone who Senate Republicans are on record saying is “a man of accomplishment and keen intellect;” a man who’s “honest and capable;” a man whose “reputation is beyond reproach.” Those are all quotes from Republicans in the Senate.
But so far, most Senate Republicans have refused to even meet with Judge Garland. Which means they’ve also refused to do their job and hold a hearing on his nomination, or an up-or-down vote. But they’ve still found time to head home for recess over the next week.
This is an abdication of the Senate’s responsibility. Every Supreme Court nominee since 1875 who hasn’t withdrawn from the process has received a hearing or a vote. For over 40 years, there’s been an average of 67 days between a nomination and a hearing. This time should be no different. This is not about partisan politics – it’s about upholding the institutions that make our democracy work.
There’s a reason Judge Garland has earned the respect of people from both political parties. As a young lawyer, he left a lucrative private firm to work in public service. He went to oversee the federal response to the Oklahoma City bombing. For the last 19 years, Judge Garland has served on the D.C. Circuit Court – often called “the Second Highest Court in the Land” – and for the past three years, he’s served as that court’s Chief Judge. In fact, Judge Merrick Garland has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. With a brilliant mind, a kind spirit, and a good heart, he has dedicated his life to protecting our rights, and ensuring that the voices of everyday Americans are heard.
So there is absolutely no reason for Republican Senators to deny him the basic courtesy of a hearing and a vote – the same courtesy that has been extended to others. This refusal to treat a Supreme Court nomination with the seriousness it deserves is what makes people so cynical about Washington. That’s why poll after poll shows a majority of Americans think Senate Republicans should do their job; give Judge Garland a hearing; and give Judge Garland a vote.
For all of our political differences, Americans understand that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. And in the middle of a volatile political season, it is more important than ever that we fulfill our duties – in good faith – as public servants. The Supreme Court must remain above partisan politics. I’ve done my job – I nominated someone as qualified as Merrick Garland. Now it’s time for the Senate to do their job. Give Judge Garland a hearing. Give Judge Garland an up-or-down vote. Treat him – and our democracy – with the respect they deserve.
There should be a greater sense of outrage over the historic Republican obstruction of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, but there isn’t because, after seven plus years of consistent obstruction, the country has become desensitized to the Republican contempt for this president.
No president has had to go through the constant disrespect that Republicans have treated President Obama with. What did Obama do to deserve this treatment? He won two presidential elections and tried to act in a bipartisan fashion. With the exceptions of the ones that Republicans have attempted to invent, there have been no scandals during the Obama years.
Republicans had decided before this president took office that they were not going to work with him. The grand GOP plan has always been to blackmail the country into giving them back the White House. Congressional Republicans have staged the world’s longest temper tantrum by refusing to go work until they are given the White House back.
The Republican obstruction of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee isn’t about Judge Garland. It is about hostage taking. Congressional Republicans are ignoring the Constitution and have taken legislative process hostage.
President Obama has more than done his job and come November, a new wave of Democratic members of Congress will remove the GOP blackmailers from the Legislative Branch.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association