Remaining true to his vow to block any Supreme Court nomination from President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stood his ground Wednesday, saying the Senate would "continue to observe the Biden rule," a nod to the fact that, as a senator in 1992, Vice President Joe Biden sought to delay then-President George H. W. Bush's high court nomination, citing the fact that it was a presidential election year.
McConnell's comments, delivered on the Senate floor, came moments after Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
McConnell argued that postponing the confirmation of any nominee to the nine-member court is the only way to ensure 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," McConnell said. "The next president may also nominate somebody very different."
"Either way," McConnel continued, "our view is this: give the people a voice in filling this vacancy."
McConnell on Obama's SCOTUS appointment: "Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy." pic.twitter.com/mbDATSoq8U— Tré Goins-Phillips (@tregp) March 16, 2016
The Republican National Committee followed with a similar message in a statement from chairman Reince Priebus.
"President Obama’s decision to nominate a Supreme Court Justice denies the American people a voice in this process," Priebus said. "For more than eighty years, there has not been a nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice in a presidential election year and now is not the time to break with bipartisan practice."
Ultimately, Priebus determined that Obama's decision to nominate Merrick in the final months of his presidency "only exposes how eager" Democrats are "to advance the political agenda of a lame duck president."
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