GOP Senator Chuck Grassley and all Republicans on his committee has just made a formal announcement that they will not allow any Supreme Court nominee to receive a hearing until the next president is sworn in.
In a stunning act of defiance and disrespect for the Office of the President of the United States, every Republican – all 11 – on the Senate Judiciary Committee has signed a letter pledging that no hearing on any nominee to the Supreme Court will be held until after President Barack Obama leaves office.
The letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after key Republicans held a closed door meeting with him today, states, "given the particular circumstances under which this vacancy arises, we wish to inform you of our intention to exercise our constitutional authority to withhold consent on any nominee to the Supreme Court submitted by this President to fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy," the letter states.
"Because our decision is based on constitutional principle and born of a necessity to protect the will of the American people, this Committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next President is sworn in on January 20, 2017."
The letter does note state what the "particular circumstances" are.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) also weighed in today.
"We believe that the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president. It's not about the nominee, it's about who chooses," Sen. Cornyn said, according to Politico.
On the Senate floor this morning, Sen. McConnell made clear his intentions, and by extension, that of the entire GOP Senate caucus.
"Presidents have a right to nominate just as the Senate has its constitutional right to provide or withhold consent. In this case, the Senate will withhold it."
McConnell: "the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's under way right now."— Ali Weinberg (@AliABCNews) February 23, 2016
Would McConnell receive a courtesy call from a SCOTUS nom? "I don't know the purpose of such a visit, I would not be inclined to take one."— Ali Weinberg (@AliABCNews) February 23, 2016
To put McConnell block in context---since 1916, every pending nominee for a vacant seat on #SCOTUS has received a vote b4 the Senate— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) February 23, 2016
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid goes on offense:
Reid says Grassley will "go down in history as most obstructionist judiciary chair."— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 23, 2016
Reid closer, "The party of Lincoln is becoming the party of Donald Trump."— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) February 23, 2016
LETTER: 'this Committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee' until 1/20/17 pic.twitter.com/rMKGkDOn58— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) February 23, 2016