Despite Republican Backlash, MN Senatators Push for Supreme Court Hearing

On March 17, President Obama formally announced his nomination of Federal Appellate Court Judge, Merrick Garland to the 113th United States Supreme Court.  Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have voiced their position that Garland deserves a hearing, despite Senate Republicans’ strong opposition to the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice in an election year.

Garland has made a name for himself as a D.C. Appellate Chief Justice on the nation’s second highest court.  According to NPR, Garland’s current position deals mostly with regulatory issues rather than hot-button issues of the day (abortion, gun rights, religious freedom, etc.), which offers him an advantage in the tense confirmation process that lays ahead.

Making a name for himself early on, Garland attended Harvard Law School before interning for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. He went on to supervise the investigations that looked in to the bombings of Oklahoma City and the Atlanta Olympics, and then put together the team that prosecuted the infamous Timothy McVeigh. Garland’s qualifications are extensive, but does he stand a chance at being confirmed? Klobuchar and Franken hope so.

In Judiciary Committee on March 17th, Franken unleashed on Republicans, calling their unwillingness to hold a hearing for Garland “absurdity.” “The American people are looking at this, and seeing what this is.  This is obstruction,” said Franken. He went on to argue that the citizens of the United States spoke by electing President Obama more than three years ago, and that the committee should listen to the voice of the people. Franken fails to mention that Republicans won in a landslide in the 2014 mideterm elections, which could be seen as a rebuke of Obama and his policies.

On Facebook Franken added to this, asserting that he spoke in the Judiciary committee to, “set the record straight on some of the absurd arguments that many Senate Republicans are using to shirk their constitutional duty.”

In a more subdued way, Klobuchar echoed Franken’s statement in a Facebook post on March 23, following her meeting with Garland. Klobuchar feels that Garland’s record is strong, stating: “His record as a jurist is exemplary, and his credentials have been widely praised by Democrats and Republicans. I was impressed with his knowledge of the law and his commitment to finding common ground.”  In the same Facebook post,  Klobuchar asserted, “It’s time for the Senate to hold a public confirmation hearing followed by an up-or-down vote.”

Chair of the Senate Judiciaary Comittee Chuck Grassely (R-Iowa) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post in which they argue that Democrats shouldn’t rob voters of the chance to replace Scalia. They say it is hypocritical of Democrat Senators who have sought to stop nominations for Supreme Court Justices by Republicans like now Vice President Joe Biden.

The nomination process will only gain in intensity in the weeks and months to come.  To continue to stay up to date on responses from Minnesota lawmakers on this subject, subscribe to Alpha News.

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