COMMENTARY

U.S. Congress Continues To Ignore President Obama’s Call

“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,” said President Obama at the start of his weekly address to the nation.

Photo Credit: United States Department of Justice.
Photo Credit: United States Department of Justice.

He lamented the fact that most Senate Republicans have refused to even meet with Judge Garland let alone hold a hearing on his nomination, or an up-or-down vote. Notwithstanding, the failure of congress to do their job, they have found time for recess, the President noted.

“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  Every Supreme Court nominee since 1875 who hasn’t withdrawn from the process has received a hearing or a vote.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,” the President said.

He further argued that Judge Garland has earned the respect of the people from both political parties and has given yeomen service to the American people.

Consequently, he said there was absolutely no reason for Republican Senators to deny Garland 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,” said the President.

The President noted that regardless of political differences, public servants are expected to do their jobs.

“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,” he concluded.

Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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