Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Judiciary Chair All Promise Obstruction
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Within minutes of President Barack Obama announcing his nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, top Republican leaders in the House and Senate were ready with statements of obstruction vowing to refuse to hold any confirmation hearings.
Under the #Constitution, the president has every right to make this nomination, and the Senate has every right not to confirm a nominee.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 16, 2016
“This has never been about who the nominee is," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a statement. "It is about a basic principle. Under our Constitution, the president has every right to make this nomination, and the Senate has every right not to confirm a nominee. I fully support Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley's decision not to move forward with the confirmation process. We should let the American people decide the direction of the court."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in addition to a tweet storm, had strong words on his website:
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the Court’s direction," Sen. McConnell said in his statement.
“It is a President’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a President and withhold its consent.
“As Chairman Grassley and I declared weeks ago, and reiterated personally to President Obama, the Senate will continue to observe the Biden Rule so that the American people have a voice in this momentous decision.
“The American people may well elect a President who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next President may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy."
There is, of course, no such thing as a "Biden Rule."
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley issued a lengthy statement, both attacking the President's decision-making process and insisting he will not hold any hearings, repeating the GOP meme, "give the people a voice."
"Nowhere in the Constitution does it describe how the Senate should either provide its consent or withhold its consent," Sen. Grassley said in his statement.
“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."
Utah Sen. Mike Lee:
My colleagues and I on Judiciary Committee have already given our advice & consent on #SCOTUSnominee: We won't have any hearings or votes.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 16, 2016
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey got creative:
Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination... #SCOTUS— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) March 16, 2016
Arizona Sen. John McCain:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee: