(WTNH) — The Supreme Court prides itself on staying out of politics. The same cannot be said for the confirmation process. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in the case of Merrick Garland, it needs to change.
“The Republicans staunch resistance to even getting a meeting or a hearing needs to stop,” Blumenthal said.
Garland has already been through the wringer of a confirmation process 19 years ago, when he was appointed to the D.C. Court of Appeals.
“The president has put Republicans in a box because now they’re asked to consider someone who was not too long ago approved by them and complimented highly by people like Orrin Hatch,” said John Pavia, who teaches Constitutional Law at Quinnipiac University.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), once approved of Garland — one of seven Republicans still serving who voted to confirm him in 1997. Fast forward 20 years to after Wednesday’s announcement, and Senator Hatch has apparently changed his mind.
“It’s not any person that we’re against,” Hatch said. “It’s the process and integrity of the court that we’re for.”
While the president can nominate, the Senate has the Constitutional duty to approve that nomination or reject it. Or the Senate can take the approach some Republicans currently advocate — block the nomination until America elects a new president. It’s a political gamble that Senate Republicans are hoping will pay off.
“What’s fair or not almost has no relevance here,” Pavia said. “Whatever decisions Republicans make, they’ll either pay for it or reap the benefits.”
If the hold out lasts until a new president is elected, it will be more than 300 days after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.