President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat, but Utah’s Senators insist he shouldn’t even be considered by the Senate.
In a statement sent to KUER Utah Sen. Mike Lee says any meeting with any nominee would only be a waste of the Senate’s time. Lee sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee that would be tasked with holding confirmation hearings. He along with other members of the committee, say they want to wait until after this year’s presidential election to begin considering nominees.
Utah’s Senior Senator, Orrin Hatch, has served on the Judiciary Committee for more than three decades and vetted the late Justice Antonin Scalia when then President Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1986. Hatch believes it’s too late for the Senate to consider President Obama’s nominee. In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, Hatch said the 2012 election isn’t the only one of consequence in this decision.
“The 2014 election, for example, had tremendous significance for the Senate’s power of advice and consent," he said. "The American people gave control of the Senate, and therefore control of the confirmation process, to Republicans.”
But Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon says it’s unacceptable for Senators Hatch and Lee to play obstructionist political games.
“There’s a year left in President Obama’s term," Corroon says. "There’s plenty of time to do business. We shouldn’t let petty politics of an election year get in the way of doing the people’s business.”
Hatch voted in support of Merrick Garland when he was confirmed to the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995. He also supported Garland when President Obama had considered him during previous Supreme Court vacancies.