On this picture President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk with Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland in the Oval Office, prior to a Rose Garden statement announcing Chief Judge Garland as the President’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court.
Will the Republications block Garland until 2017? Just to nominate a conservative in case they win The White House in November?
Here are some background information from The White House about the next steps:
The Constitution states that it is the President’s responsibility to nominate a person to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, a duty he fulfilled yesterday when he sent a letter notifying the Senate that he has selected Chief Judge Garland.
Now, according to the Constitution, it is the Senate’s job to advise and provide consent on the President’s nominee. That means that Senate Judiciary Committee members should hold a hearing to vet Chief Judge Garland, provide their recommendation, and then the full Senate should debate and vote on whether or not to confirm Judge Garland to the Senate. Every nominee since 1875 has received a hearing and a vote.
When it comes to the Supreme Court, this would be an unprecedented level of obstruction. Every nominee who was not withdrawn has received a vote within 125 days of nomination. 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.
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.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution clearly spells out how the confirmation process is supposed to work. The President took that constitutional responsibility seriously and consulted with both Democratic and Republican Senators before choosing a nominee. He even invited them to put forward potential nominees for his consideration. The result of his consultations and rigorous process is the decision to nominate a thoughtful and meticulous judge for the Supreme Court with a keen ability for building consensus. That’s why even Republicans have described Chief Judge Garland as a consensus nominee.
In 1997, the U.S. Senate confirmed Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit Court in a bipartisan vote of 76 to 23.
The President fully expects Congress to honor their constitutional responsibility and allow this nominee a hearing and a vote. Despite repeated declarations that they will ignore such a responsibility, the President believes there will be enough Republicans listening to Americans and editorial boards across the country to honor their oath of office and do their jobs regardless of their party’s political leadership.
For more than two centuries, it has been standard practice for Congress to confirm a president’s Supreme Court nominee, whether in a presidential election year or not. In fact, six Justices have been confirmed in a presidential election year since 1900.
Of those six Justices, three have been Republicans. The most recent Justice to be confirmed in an election year was Justice Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan — who was confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in February 1988.