Senate Judiciary chairman not swayed by nominee

Posted at 11:55 AM, Mar 16, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the American people must have a voice in November on filling the Supreme Court vacancy.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican made it clear that the GOP-led Senate will not consider President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, but will wait until after the next president is in place.

McConnell said the view of the GOP is "give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy."

Democrats and the White House are pressuring the GOP to act. Obama, in announcing his nominee, said Garland would be making the customary visit to Capitol Hill to meet with senators on Thursday. The Senate is planning a two-week break at the end of the week.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said he is not swayed by President Barack Obama's pick for a Supreme Court nominee.

President Barack Obama nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month. Senate Republicans have said for weeks that they won't hold a hearing or a vote on Obama's nominee.

In a statement issued just after Garland spoke in the White House Rose Garden, Republican Grassley said "a lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics."

He said this year is an opportunity for the country to have an honest debate about the role of the Supreme Court.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid evoked Republican front-runner Donald Trump in calling on Republicans to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.

In a statement Wednesday, Reid said Trump had called on the GOP to block the nominee. The Nevada Democrat says Republicans face a choice of "blindly taking their marching orders from Donald Trump, or doing their jobs and providing fair consideration to this highly-qualified nominee."

Despite unified opposition to considering any nominee in an election year, Reid said he was optimistic that "cooler heads will prevail" and "sensible Republicans" will treat Garland fairly