McConnell: Senate Will ‘Withhold Consent’ For Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

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February 23, 2016 11:01 a.m.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday morning reiterated that Senate Republicans will block President Obama’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, regardless of who the president puts forward.

“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 on the Senate floor. “The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter after the American people finish making in November the decision they’ve already started making today.”

In his speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said that the confirmation process for the next Supreme Court justice should wait until after the 2016 election. He argued that voters should be able to select the next president to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court. He said that senators have a choice.

“Will we allow the people to continue deciding who will nominate the next justice or will we empower a lame duck president to make that decision on his way out the door instead?” he asked.

McConnell cited past statements from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Joe Biden about the Senate’s role in confirming court nominees to justice Senate Republicans’ stance.

“It is my view that if a Supreme Court justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” Biden said in a June 1992 speech.

Biden said in a Monday statement that his 1992 speech is “not an accurate description of my views.”

“While some say that my comments in June 1992 contributed to a more politicized nomination process, they didn’t prevent the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duties, because there was no vacancy at the time,” Biden said in the Monday statement.

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