CHICAGO (UPI) — During a visit to Chicago, President Barack Obama again called for the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee choice, Merrick Garland, saying political bickering threatens the integrity of the high court.
Obama, speaking at the University of Chicago Law School where he taught for a decade, said the Republican attempt to block Garland could turn into gridlock that “would be a disaster for the courts,” indicating a slippery slope for future nominees. If a Republican wins the White House and makes a nomination, Democrats would rebuff the choice.
In his campaign to confirm Garland, Obama told the crowd of nearly 300 students, faculty and judges it would be a breakdown that would destroy the integrity and legitimacy of the federal judiciary.
“The notion the Democrats would then say, ‘Oh, well, we’ll just go along with that’ — that is inconceivable, right?” Obama said. “So now the Democrats say, well, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We’ll wait four more years, to see the next president who comes in.”
Obama nominated Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Washington, D.C. district, in March to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left in the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Even before Obama’s nomination, Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted the next president make the choice.
“If you start getting into a situation in which the process of appointing judges is so broken, so partisan that an imminently qualified jurist cannot even get a hearing, then we are going to see the kinds of sharp partisan polarization that have come to characterize our electoral politics seeping entirely into the judicial system,” Obama said.
While in Chicago, Obama also taped an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, furthering his campaign to push for confirmation hearings.
Senate Republicans said they will not budge from their position, with McConnell calling Obama’s assertion the Constitution requires the Senate to consider any nominee a “politically convenient fairy tale.”
McConnell said Thursday the claims Garland is a moderate judge is “just a useful piece of spin that’s been dutifully echoed across the expanse of the left and in the media for years” and the final decision on filling the seat “could impact our country for decades” and “could dramatically affect our most cherished constitutional rights like those contained in the First and Second amendments.”
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