Will the Senate ultimately confirm Chief Judge Merrick Garland?
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution clearly spells out how the confirmation process is supposed to work. The President took that constitutional responsibility seriously and consulted with both Democratic and Republican Senators before choosing a nominee. He even invited them to put forward potential nominees for his consideration. The result of his consultations and rigorous process is the decision to nominate a thoughtful and meticulous judge for the Supreme Court with a keen ability for building consensus. That’s why even Republicans have described Chief Judge Garland as a consensus nominee.
In 1997, the U.S. Senate confirmed Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit Court in a bipartisan vote of 76 to 23.
The President fully expects Congress to honor their constitutional responsibility and allow this nominee a hearing and a vote. Despite repeated declarations that they will ignore such a responsibility, the President believes there will be enough Republicans listening to Americans and editorial boards across the country to honor their oath of office and do their jobs regardless of their party’s political leadership.
Q: Does it matter that this year is a presidential election year?
No. For more than two centuries, it has been standard practice for Congress to confirm a president’s Supreme Court nominee, whether in a presidential election year or not. In fact, six Justices have been confirmed in a presidential election year since 1900. Of those six Justices, three have been Republicans. The most recent Justice to be confirmed in an election year was Justice Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan — who was confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in February 1988.