Obama: Senate obligated to vote on SCOTUS nominee

In his first-ever live online interview, President Obama told BuzzFeed legal editor Chris Geidner the Senate has an obligation to vote on his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.

Stating he had fulfilled his constitutional obligations by nominating Judge Garland, the president continued to state it was now the obligation for the Senate to “advise and consent” on his judicial candidate.

Asked by Geidner if the Senate has a constitutional obligation to hold a vote, Mr. Obama replied :  “I do.”

Mr. Obama continued:

“If the Republicans in the Senate want to argue publicly that this man is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court they should do so.  But they can’t.  It would not be a plausible argument.”

Judge Garland was nominated in March to fill a vacancy created by the February death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Since Judge Garland’s nomination, Senate Republicans have argued they will not hold hearings on Mr. Obama’s choice to fill the Court’s vacancy.

Despite fierce criticism from Senate Democrats, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) particularly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) have maintained no confirmation hearing will be held.

Many Republicans have refused to meet with Garland since his nomination; however, a number of vulnerable GOP senators, Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) among them, have greeted the nominee and met criticism from GOP leadership.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) met with Judge Garland in April, but has since stated his position on refusing to hold hearings has remained unchanged.

Watch the full interview below:



[PBS] [BuzzFeed]