Congress was idle last week, but three senators flew to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.Most notable was Mark Kirk, the first Republican to sit down with federal appellate judge Merrick Garland.
“As the president put forward Judge Garland, we should give him advice and consent.We need full rational, adult, open-minded consideration of the constitutional process.”
While more than a dozen other Republicans say they are willing to meet with Garland, only two are urging Senate consideration of the nomination.A third, Jerry Moran, called for hearings, then reversed himself two days later.Democrats, meanwhile, stand united behind Garland.
“I think he is someone who is highly qualified and...I think it is the obligation of the Senate to not only have a hearing, but to vote on his nomination.”
“We're confirming, or deciding whether to confirm a member if the Supreme Court should not be political.”
But Republicans control the Senate.Unless they budge, Garland will remain in limbo.
“Let's let the American people decide.
The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.”
The high court's make-up and ideological center of gravity are issues in the presidential contest.
“If Hillary is the next president, the Supreme Court is lost for a generation, and the Bill of Rights is lost.”
Opinion polls show majority backing for full Senate consideration of Garland.Democrats believe Republicans will bow to the public's will or suffer at the ballot box in November.Whatever the political calculations, the vast majority of Republican senators are holding firm.