Leahy Calls On Senate Republicans To Confirm Chief Judge Garland Before New Supreme Court Term Next Month

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans’ unprecedented blockade of Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination has made him the longest pending Supreme Court nominee in the history of the United States.  As the Senate returns after an extended break scheduled by the Republican leadership, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Senate Republicans must finally give Garland a hearing and a vote so that the Supreme Court can fulfill its constitutional role for the American people. 

“The Senate is returning from the longest recess in nearly half a century, and perhaps the Republican leadership was hoping that Americans had forgotten about the unprecedented obstruction of a Supreme Court nominee.  But I can assure you that Americans – and certainly Vermonters – have not forgotten,” Leahy said in a floor statement Tuesday. 

USA Today called the Republicans’ refusal to give Garland a hearing and a votean abrogation of its constitutional duty.”  Several other editorial boards have weighed in recently, urging Senate Republicans to end their partisan obstruction.

Despite the outcry, the Republican Leader declared that one of his “proudest moments” was when he unilaterally declared that he would not allow the Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by President Obama.  Leahy said such partisan rhetoric is “beyond disappointing.” 

“The partisan decision to refuse any sort of consideration of a highly-qualified nominee like Chief Judge Garland is an embarrassment; it is hardly an accomplishment of which to be proud,” Leahy said.  

Because of Republicans’ inaction, the diminished Supreme Court was unable to issue a final decision on the merits in a total of seven cases last term.  And the docket for the upcoming term is the lightest in decades.  But with weeks to go before the beginning of the Court’s new term, Leahy said Senate Republicans still have time to do the right thing and confirm Garland in time for the upcoming term. 

I hope that the Republican leadership will reconsider its outright refusal to allow a hearing and vote for Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  This unprecedented and unwarranted stance has already undermined one term of the high court, but there is still time to avoid harming another term,” he said.  “There is still plenty of time to have a hearing and vote swiftly on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination.  It’s time for the Senate to get back to work.”

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