|The honorable Merrick B. Garland is the Chief Judge |
of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
The honorable Merrick B. Garland is currently the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (White House).
Senate Republicans immediately repeated their vow not to meet with or hold hearings for Judge Garland (Washington Post).
The White House notes the words of Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) prior to today's announcement:
"[President Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man,"
Senator Orrin Hatch (March 13, 2016).
The White House also includes a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts: "Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you're in a difficult area" (September 14, 2005).
Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) said, "President Obama just announced his nominee for the next justice of the Supreme Court: Judge Merrick Garland. Now, it's the Senate's turn to do its job. Judge Garland is a highly credentialed jurist, and he deserves a full and fair hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee."
The Latino rights group, Mi Familia Vota, sent a mass email reading in part:
Before today’s announcement, President Obama promised to appoint a person with a ‘sterling record,’ a ‘deep respect for the judiciary’s role,’ and ‘an understanding of the way the world really works.’ Today, the president nominated Judge Garland.
The Supreme Court and the decisions it makes affect all of us, including our basic rights as Americans. This is too important to be treated by the Senate as a partisan fight.
Unfortunately, even before President Obama announced Garland as his pick -- a judge who was widely praised by Republicans when he was previously considered for the high court -- Senate Republicans decided not to consider the nominee; not even show respect by meeting with him.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a GOP leader and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the nominee will be treated like a ‘piñata.’ That kind of talk is disrespectful to us, the voters.
By refusing to act, the Republican-controlled Senate is undermining a pillar of our democracy. It is obstructing justice by denying full court consideration of cases that are important to our community.
These senators also are disregarding one of the basic rules of life: do your job or get fired.
The White House notes:
The Senate's Constitutional Responsibility to Act
The confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice is a solemn responsibility that the President and the Senate share under the U.S. Constitution.
Throughout history, members of both parties in Congress and in the White House have done their jobs so that the Judicial Branch can do its own. Failing to do so would be an unprecedented dereliction of duty.
The Senate has almost a full year to consider and confirm a nominee. In fact, since 1975, the average time from nomination to confirmation is 67 days. The longest time before confirmation in the past three decades was 99 days, for Justice Thomas, and the last four Justices, spanning two Administrations, were confirmed in an average of 75 days.
"Here's a look at where President Obama's Supreme Court nominee stands in the confirmation process compared to those of recent nominees under three different administrations," notes the White House:
It's likely extremist, anti-Constitutional Senate Republicans will find out, sooner than they apparently believe, the vast number of Americans like the idea of their rights guaranteed by an honest, brilliant and principled judge.