If Republicans Followed Bipartisan History, Senate Would Be Confirming Supreme Court Nominee TODAY

Justice Delayed As Senate Republicans Refuse To Consider Supreme Court Nominee

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 25, 2016) – The Senate should be voting today to confirm Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, based on recent timelines for considering Supreme Court nominees.  Instead, Senate Republicans have refused to even give Garland a hearing. 

For more than 40 years, the Senate has held a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominees on average 70 days after their formal nomination.  As of today, Garland has been pending for 70 days.  But instead of scheduling a hearing and a vote on Garland’s nomination, Senate Republicans are poised to leave town for a week without addressing the Supreme Court vacancy.

“Under Republican leadership, the Senate is on track to be in session for the fewest days since 1956,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said.  “Senate Republicans simply refuse to do their jobs.  And if Senate Republican leadership has its way, this seat on the Supreme Court will remain unnecessarily vacant for more than a year, meaning justice delayed for too many Americans.”

In the last 100 years, no Supreme Court nominee has been denied a hearing and a vote.  The Senate’s longstanding tradition for providing process to Supreme Court nominees was memorialized in a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter in 2001, authored by then-Chairman Leahy and then-Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). 

While Senate Republicans have shut down the confirmation process for Garland, the Supreme Court has been unable to reach agreement on important cases affecting millions of Americans.  The New York Times described the eight-member court as “diminished,” while FiveThirtyEight noted that next year the Court may see the lightest caseload in at least 70 years. 

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