During the White House press briefing on Friday, spokesman Josh Earnest indicated that President Obama would not withdraw support from Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland if he was asked to do so by a Democratic president-elect.
“The President stands by his nominee and believes that the Senate should confirm him as soon as possible. And I cannot imagine a scenario where the President would withdraw his support from his nominee,” Earnest said when asked whether Obama would pull support for his nominee so that his successor could name a different nominee.
Earnest also told reporters that Obama “believes strongly that Chief Judge Garland is the right person for this job.”
“The President is proud to have nominated him, and the President will stand by him and urge the United states Senate to confirm him promptly,” he said.
With some Senate Republicans publicly saying they’d consider confirming Garland in a lame duck session after the November election if a Democrat wins, there’s been idle speculation that Obama could one-up them by withdrawing Garland at that time and submitting a younger more progressive nominee. But the question to Earnest was prompted by Bernie Sanders telling MSNBC on Thursday that if he is elected president, he would ask Obama to withdraw Garland.
“I’m 100 percent prepared to support Judge Garland. I think he’s clearly very knowledgable and can serve ably on the Supreme Court, but between you and me, I think there are some more progressive judges out there,” the Democratic presidential candidate said.