04.26.16

In Remarks At Kennedy Institute Event, Leahy Calls On Republicans To Restore Senate Tradition And Consider SCOTUS Nominee

“To deny Chief Judge Garland a public hearing and a vote would be truly historic – but that is not the kind of history the Senate should be proud of”

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, April 26, 2016) – Speaking at an event hosted by the Kennedy Institute Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called for a return to Senate tradition when it comes to considering Supreme Court nominees.

Leahy noted that during the entire 47-year career of the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and going back to 1916, no pending Supreme Court nominee has been denied a hearing and a vote.  Today, however, Senate Republicans are creating new history by blocking Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

“These days, we certainly could use some more of Senator Kennedy’s commitment to the Constitution,” Leahy saidSenator Kennedy “understood the momentous nature of Supreme Court nominations, as well as the historic and constitutionally-mandated role of the Senate.  So it is important that today’s event focuses on the Senate’s undeniable and irreplaceable role in providing advice and consent on the President’s nominees.”

Leahy added: “That is exactly what the Judiciary Committee should be doing this very week.”

Based on recent precedent, the Judiciary Committee should hold confirmation hearings beginning on April 27 and the full Senate should vote on Garland’s nomination by Memorial Day.  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).   

On Tuesday, Leahy underscored the importance of this 2001 agreement and the Senate’s longstanding history for considering Supreme Court nominees.

“To deny Chief Judge Garland a public hearing and a vote would be truly historic – but that is not the kind of history the Senate should be proud of,” he said.  “As Americans engaged in our democratic process, you should demand that the Senate be fair.  You should demand that your Senators do their jobs by providing this nominee a public hearing so he can respond to the attacks on his record.”

Leahy and all Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Chairman Grassley last month urging that he give Garland a hearing and a vote in a timely manner. Based on past precedent, the Judiciary Committee should hold confirmation hearings THIS WEEK, beginning on Wednesday, and the full Senate should vote on Garland’s nomination by Memorial Day. 

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