Republicans’ Unprecedented Obstruction Makes Chief Judge Merrick Garland Longest Pending Supreme Court Nominee in U.S. History

Nomination Has Been Pending For 125 Days

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, July 19, 2016) – Today marks the 125th day since the Senate received the nomination of D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  Senate Republicans’ unprecedented blockade of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination has made him the longest pending Supreme Court nominee in the history of the United States.

Senate Republicans’ treatment of Chief Judge Garland is without precedent.  Since public hearings began in 1916, the Senate has never denied a hearing or a vote to a pending Supreme Court nominee.  It has been 125 days since President Obama nominated Chief Judge Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and Republicans refuse to even hold a hearing on his nomination.  

Chief Judge Garland has been highly praised across the political spectrum as an eminently qualified and impartial jurist.  Chief Judge Garland has more experience as a federal judge than any Supreme Court nominee in U.S. history.  The American Bar Association has examined Chief Judge Garland’s nomination and unanimously awarded him its highest rating of “Well-Qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court.  He previously served as a federal prosecutor, leading the Justice Department’s efforts on the ground in Oklahoma City in the days after the worst act of home-grown terrorism in U.S. history.   

With only eight members on the Supreme Court, the justices were unable to issue a final decision on the merits in a total of seven cases last term.  And in another matter involving whether the Court would take a death penalty appeal, the justices deadlocked.  

Republicans are making the wrong kind of history today,” Leahy said.  “Their partisan and irresponsible obstruction of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination has led to a diminished Supreme Court that has left millions of families uncertain of their rights in important areas of the law.  Republicans are abandoning their role under the Constitution for a short-sighted and partisan political hope that the Republican candidate for President will win in November.  The American people deserve better.” 


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