In a stunning reversal, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said Friday that he no longer supports holding hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
“He has examined Judge Garland’s record and didn’t need hearings to conclude that the nominee’s judicial philosophy, disregard for Second Amendment rights and sympathy for federal government bureaucracy make Garland unacceptable to serve on the Supreme Court,” Moran’s aide said in a statement acquired by CNN. “Senator Moran remains committed to preventing this president from putting another justice on the highest court in the land.”
Just last week, the Kansas senator expressed openness to meeting with and holding hearings for Garland, saying it was his Constitutional responsibility to do so.
“I can’t imagine the President has or will nominate somebody that meets my criteria, but I have my job to do,” Moran told constituents in a town hall meeting. “I think the process ought to go forward.”
Moran’s new hard line speaks to the efforts of senior Republican senators, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to maintain a united party front against holding hearings for any judge President Obama nominates to the court.
Grassley confirmed in a statement sent to CNN that he had spoken to Moran about moving forward with Garland’s confirmation.
“Sen. Moran called me about the Supreme Court vacancy,” Grassley said in the statement. “I’m confident that he’s committed to ensuring the American people have an opportunity to make their voices heard during this pivotal election, and that the Senate should consider the nominee submitted by the next president.”
Despite Grassley’s best efforts, a handful of Republican senators, including. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Mark Kirk (I-IL), have urged their GOP colleagues to meet with and hold hearings for Garland.