Supreme Court Vacancy: Obama Insists Senate Obligated to Vote on Presidential Nominee
May 16, 2016 11:50 PM EDT
United States president Barack Obama asserts that the Senate has a "constitutional obligation" to vote on a president's nomination to the Supreme Court, contradicting the stand of most Republicans and some legal scholars.
Obama stressed his claim on Monday through an online interview regarding his mired Supreme Court nomination of United States Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland. When asked by Buzzfeed if he thought the Constitution's language of "advice and consent" meant the Senate is obliged to make a vote, he said: "I do".
According to the Constitution, the president "shall" appoint judges to the Supreme Court, but "with advice and consent" from the Senate. However, senate Republicans believe they are already fulfilling their duty by not considering Obama's nominee at all.
The GOP, as per ABC News, has reportedly cited a 2005 argument of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid who claimed the Constitution doesn't force the Senate to hold a vote on presidential nominees.
Months after the late Justice Antonin Scalia's death, the White House is still struggling to put pressure on the Republicans to vote on Garland's nomination. While some Republicans held a meeting with the nominee and expressed their openness to hearings, majority of those included in the party remained firm on their stance that the forthcoming president is the one that should choose a name for the Supreme Court vacancy.
Determined to appoint the replacement, Obama cited Donald Trump who is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as another reason why a replacement should be voted upon as soon as possible. It was noted that many Republicans see the media mogul's temperament and principles questionable while Democrats think it's too risky for Trump to pick the next SCOTUS Justice, should he win in the November elections.
"Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, because we have a number of Republicans say that they're concerned about their nominee, it shows why you can't politicize a Supreme Court vacancy," Obama stated, as quoted by PBS NewsHour.
In the same interview, Obama mistakenly affirmed that from the Senate to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, his nominee, Garland, was "confirmed unanimously". The presidential nominee was confirmed on a vote of 76-23 back in 1997.