Saturday, September 10, 2016

Nearly six months

Diane --

This week, the Senate returned from its summer recess to some unfinished business that should have been taken care of months ago. It's now been nearly six months since I nominated a highly qualified candidate, Chief Judge Merrick Garland, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and Senate leaders are no closer to calling a vote for my nominee than they were this spring.

That's six months with a short-handed Supreme Court and Senate leaders ignoring their responsibility. If the Senate doesn't act soon, the Court could go for another full term of cases without nine justices, for no reason except blind partisanship and obstruction from Republican senators.

It's simply unacceptable that they're refusing to do their jobs. OFA is one of the groups pushing for a fair Supreme Court nomination process -- say you'll join them.

The Senate's obstruction has real consequences. Its refusal to act can prevent the Court from fulfilling its duty to resolve conflicts in lower courts and to safeguard our rights. As the final authority on American law, the Supreme Court rules on cases that directly affect our economy, our security, our rights, and our daily lives. And just as the American people deserve leaders who will fight to find solutions to our country's biggest problems, we also deserve a Court that can fully serve the American people.

Now let's be clear: This obstruction by Senate leadership -- this abdication of their constitutional duties -- has nothing to do with Chief Judge Garland or his qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Even Senate Republicans have admitted as much, and are on record describing him as "a man of accomplishment and keen intellect" who is "honest and capable" and whose "reputation is beyond reproach." As Vice President Biden has said, "nobody is suggesting that senators have to vote 'yes' on a nominee. Voting 'no' is always an option. But saying nothing, seeing nothing, reading nothing, hearing nothing, and deciding in advance simply to turn your backs -- is not an option the Constitution leaves open."

When Senate leaders refuse to even hold a hearing for someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland, it injects the most partisan of politics into a process that should remain above those kind of antics. This willful choice of divisive politics is wrong, it betrays our best traditions, and harms Americans' faith in our government.

We're better than this kind of petty politics.

I've taken my constitutional duties seriously. I devoted time and carefully deliberated before choosing Chief Judge Garland. Now it's time for Senate leaders to do the same and treat him and our democracy with the respect they deserve. And they need to hear it from folks like you.

Add your name to stand with OFA supporters across the country, and push for a hearing for Chief Judge Garland:

Thanks for all you do.

Barack Obama

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