Key GOP Senators Emerge From Meeting: No Hearing For Obama SCOTUS Nom

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks to reporters o... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, following a closed-door policy meeting. McConnell said the Senate will consider legislation to hit North Korea with more stringent sanctions in the wake of Pyongyang’s recent satellite launch and technical advances U.S. intelligence agencies say the reclusive Asian nation is making in its nuclear weapons program. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) MORE LESS
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Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

Key Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee emerged from a closed door meeting in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Tuesday united in their determination not to consider any nominee to replace Antonin Scalia until the next president takes office.

Tuesday was the first full day the Senate was back in session since Scalia’s death Feb. 13.

“We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame duck president,” said Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TN).

When asked if they would start the process after the new president took office or if they would consider doing it in the lame duck session, Cornyn replied “No, after the next president is selected. That way the American people have a voice in the process.”

The Republican members of the Judiciary Commitee were unanimous in agreeing not to move forward with any Obama nominee for the Supreme Court, said Cornyn, who was in the meeting. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was not in the meeting, later said that GOP senators were told at their weekly lunch that the Judiciary Committee Republicans were in unanimous agreement on the strategy.

Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) and the rest of the committee Republicans sent a letter to McConnell outlining their plan to block any Obama nominee for Scalia’s seat.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that “there’s no use starting a process that’s not going to go anywhere and we are going to let the next president decide,” when asked why there would be no hearings.

When TPM asked if he had political concerns about the decision not to move forward with a nominee, Graham responded.”I have zero concerns politically.”

“I think this is what they would do,” Graham said referring to Senate Democrats. “For them to say they wouldn’t do this is a lie.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) demurred saying that Republicans were “still talking.”

The meeting in McConnell’s office came not long after he made a speech on the Senate floor vowing to block any Obama nominee.

“Presidents have a right to nominate just as the Senate has its constitutional right to provide or withhold consent. In this case, the Senate will withhold it,” McConnell said. “The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter after the American people finish making in November the decision they’ve already started making today.”

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for pmm080 pmm080 says:

    Well, then these idiots should resign because they are NOT doing the job they are being paid for!!! Kick them all out!

  2. Republicans are playing the fascist card.

    It works the same in any country.

  3. Avatar for niner niner says:

    Okay democrats, get you rear ends out there and tell the whole world how this is just another slap in the face of President Obama, is a racist gesture and a divisionary tactic to further divide this nation. If this does not help take back the senate for the democrats, nothing will. It should also help us keep the Presidency. Get out and talk and VOTE!

  4. I believe that McConnell had to do this before Obama announced the nominee. It’s far easier to say “we won’t have a hearing for Obama” than “we won’t have a hearing on Mr X”.

    Once the person is nominated, though, and Obama and others make the point that the Senate is completely disfunctional, I do think it’ll come back to bite McConnell.

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