Ex-American Bar Association chiefs push for vote on Garland

Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, smiles as he meets with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fifteen former American Bar Association presidents are joining the push to urge Republicans to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

In a letter to Senate leaders, the legal advocates argue that the GOP blockade is injecting politics into the courts that “materially hampers the effective operation” of the judiciary.

The group calls Chief Judge Merrick Garland “one of the most outstanding judges in the country” and says the Senate should give him a hearing and a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley say they won’t consider Garland because an election-year hearing would be too political.

In the letter, the lawyers argue “there is no election-year exception” to the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities in the Constitution.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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