Misguided Republican lawmakers are determined to block Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and deny President Barack Obama’s attempt to nominate a highly-qualified judge to the high court.
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden Garland on the day Garland was nominated to be the next Supreme Court justice. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Despite calls for Senate Republicans to meet with Garland, GOP legislators are, instead, digging in their heels.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on the Senate floor last week that he will not bow to pressure from Democrats to consider Garland, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge.
At least 17 Senate Republicans said they would meet with Garland — but with their minds made up. So far, Garland has met with three Senate Republicans, including Senator John Boozman of Arkansas.
“During our meeting, I conveyed to Judge Garland my position, which is that the next president should fill the vacancy,” Boozman said in a statement. “My position is firm. That means I will not advocate for hearings or a vote, nor will I support filling the vacancy with President Obama’s pick after the election.”
So what was the point? Boozman said the meeting was simply a courtesy. And other senior Republican leaders, like Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have said they won’t even meet with Garland.
The GOP roadblock is shortsighted, dismissive and another blatant attempt to stall Obama’s legislative agenda during his final year in office.
Meanwhile, President Obama fired back at the GOP saying even if a Republican wins the White House and makes a nomination, Democrats could filibuster it.
“The notion the Democrats would then say, ‘Oh, well, we’ll just go along with that’ — that is inconceivable, right?” Obama said. “So now the Democrats say, well, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We’ll wait four more years, to see the next president who comes in.”
He said Republicans are jeopardizing the “integrity of the judicial branch” by refusing to consider his “extraordinary” nominee to the Supreme Court.
Obama is right. And Republicans are hypocrites.
Here is what Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said about Garland on the Senate floor in 1995.
“Now I would like to state, for all of my colleagues here, that he is a very good nominee — I commend the administration for being willing to nominate Merrick Garland… I hope, since he is a good nominee — I think almost everybody would have to admit he’s a good nominee — that we will vote him out next week. I understand the argument against that, there is no argument against Merrick Garland at all, and perhaps we can solve that problem in the future.” And here’s what Hatch said about Garland in 1997:
“To my knowledge, no one, absolutely no one disputes the following: Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… 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… Opposition to this nomination will only serve to undermine the credibility of our legitimate goal of keeping proven activists off the bench.”
So why are Senate Republicans opposed to Garland now? It’s just another attempt to stick it to Obama as Republicans have done for the past 7 1/2 years.