Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement Wednesday after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill the seat vacated after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Sen. Grassley made it clear that the majority in the Senate has decided to withhold support for the nomination during the presidential election year and that it was well within its Constitutional authority to do so. Furthermore, Sen. Grassley also highlighted his concern that Judge Merrick might adhere to a so-called “empathy standard” that decides cases based on “‘life-experience’ to the ‘rapidly changing times.’” He concluded by stating that the American people should have a voice in the nomination.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
“When they structured our nation, the founders placed trust in three separate but equal branches of government. Co-equal authorities are throughout the Constitution, including Article II, Section 2, where the power to nominate an individual to the Supreme Court is granted to the President and authority is given to the Senate to provide advice and consent. Nowhere in the Constitution does it describe how the Senate should either provide its consent or withhold its consent.
“Today the President has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests. As Vice President Biden previously said, it’s a political cauldron to avoid. Judge Bork learned even after being unanimously confirmed for a circuit court judgeship, the confirmation process for the Supreme Court is unlike any other.
“It’s also important to remember the type of nominee President Obama said he’s seeking. He says his nominee will arrive at ‘just decisions and fair outcomes’ based on the application of ‘life experience’ to the ‘rapidly changing times.’ The so-called empathy standard is not an appropriate basis for selecting a Supreme Court nominee.
“A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice. Do we want a court that interprets the law, or do we want a court that acts as an unelected super legislature? This year is a tremendous opportunity for our country to have a sincere and honest debate about the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system of government.”
[h/t Sen. Grassley Press Release; image via screengrab]