U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6), the most-senior member of the New Jersey Democratic Congressional Delegation, this morning demanded that Republican lawmakers grant Judge Merrick Garland a prompt and fair hearing.
President Barack Obama today put forward the name of the circuit appeals judge to fill a vacancy created by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, argues that the next president should pick Judge Scalia’s successor.
But Pallone vigorously disagrees.
“The United States Senate must now uphold its constitutional duty to swiftly consider Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” saidf the congressman. “It is unacceptable for Republicans to consider leaving the nation’s highest court with just eight members for more than a year, simply for political purposes. The American people expect members of the Senate to do their job and that includes meeting with Supreme Court nominees, holding hearings and ultimately accepting or rejecting that nominee.”
Garland has a reputation as a moderate. The D.C. Circuit confirmed Garland 76-23, with majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. He has served for 19 years on that court. For over three years, he has been the Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, where he has cultivated a reputation as a meticulous judge with a knack for building consensus.
“Merrick Garland serves as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and has nearly two decades of service on that court, his credentials certainly deserve consideration,” Pallone said. “Senate Republicans cannot let partisanship and obstructionism stand in the way when so many important issues face our country and the Supreme Court.”
In a statement, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) likewise called on Republicans to give Garland a hearing.
“Today President Obama has fulfilled his Constitutional obligation to send to the United States Senate a nominee worthy of filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court,” said the U.S. Senator. “It is now the Constitutional duty of the United States Senate – all 100 of us – to consider this nominee through a hearing, debate and vote.
“The American people expect us to do our job, without delay and politically-motivated excuses. I take this responsibility seriously and I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about Judge Garland’s credentials, to study his record and to meet with him personally. I urge Republican leaders to now respect both the words of the Constitution and the voices of the American people. Let’s get to work. Democracy must not stop at the Capitol steps.”
Republicans have an opposing view.
U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) (pictured) last month called on the U.S. Senate to delay the confirmation of a new Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court until after the swearing-in of a newly-elected President in 2017.
“In fact, it has been 80 years since a Supreme Court nominee has been nominated and confirmed during the last year of a presidency,” Lance added. “Delaying the Senate confirmation process until after the November elections will give the American people a voice in the selection process and allow the newly-elected President — Republican or Democrat — the opportunity to fill a vacancy that could reshape our Nation’s highest court for generations.”