Obama's Court Nomination Sparks Disagreement in Missouri Senate Campaign

By Raasch, Chuck | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 17, 2016 | Go to article overview

Obama's Court Nomination Sparks Disagreement in Missouri Senate Campaign


Raasch, Chuck, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


WASHINGTON * President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court immediately became an issue in the Missouri Senate race.

Incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, said he would oppose the nomination, while the Democratic candidate, Secretary of State Jason Kander, said Blunt as a member of the Senate leadership had a responsibility to push for a Senate hearing on the nomination.

Republican Senate leaders have said they will not do that and that they want the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia to be nominated by the next president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that position Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.

Even as Obama was in the Rose Garden lauding Garland, currently the chief judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Blunt's Senate office released a statement from him.

"This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land," Blunt said. "The president has every right to nominate someone, and the Senate has the Constitutional responsibility to decide if it's the right person at the right time. I will not vote for this nominee to the Supreme Court."

Blunt told Talking Points Memo that he would not schedule a meeting with Garland, a usual ritual for court nominees.

Blunt also added that he, like many in the GOP, would not even meet with Garland.

"I can barely schedule a call with my son's math teacher yesterday so probably no," Blunt said, according to the website.

Kander issued his own statement urging the Senate to "do its job."

Garland "should receive a hearing as soon as practical so the Senate can determine if he is qualified to fill the vital opening on the Supreme Court," Kander said. "Missourians have spoken loud and clear that they want the Senate to do its job by vetting the nominee and taking a vote based on qualifications, not politics. As the vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Senator Blunt should be a leader in ensuring his caucus fulfills its constitutional duty."

A poll for Missouri newspapers released last week concluded that Missourians were split on the question, with 47 percent wanting Scalia's replacement named by Obama and 46 percent saying they want to put it off for the next president. …

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