PHOENIX — Arizona senior Republicans promised they would maintain a hard stance against President Barack Obama’s pick for the next Supreme Court justice.
Both Sen. John McCain and Rep. Matt Salmon released statements shortly after Obama named Merrick Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The nomination was expected to trigger a showdown with Republicans, who have told the White House not to fill the vacancy during an election year.
“It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election …” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. He cited the Biden Rule, when then-Sen. Joe Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee, argued for putting off Supreme Court nominations.
Salmon echoed McConnell’s reference of the Biden Rule in a statement.
“In 1992, Vice President Joe Biden lauded ‘the tradition against acting on Supreme Court nominations in a presidential year.’ [Wednesday], the president fulfills his much-talked-about constitutional duty to nominate a candidate for the vacancy on the Supreme Court,” the statement read.
Salmon wasted no time in calling for the Senate to wait to replace Scalia until the incoming president can select a nominee.
“The Senate fulfills its equally important power to control when, and if, it considers that nominee,” the congressman said. “The Senate has already promised to hold firm and allow the next president of the United States to make this nomination. This is prudent, it is deliberative, it is constitutional, and it is the right course of action.”
McCain also said the Senate must wait for an incoming president so the people can have a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice.
“This issue is not about any single nominee – it’s about the integrity of the court,” he said in a statement. “With less than a year left in a lame-duck presidency and the long-term ideological balance of the Supreme Court at stake, I believe the American people must have a voice in the direction of the Supreme Court by electing a new president.”
McCain said America’s recent pattern — voting in a Republican majority to the Senate while Obama, a Democrat, was in office — showed they wanted a “check and balance” to liberal policy.
However, not every Arizona Republican took such a hard line. Politico reports Sen. Jeff Flake would be willing to meet with Garland and would move to confirm him should Clinton win in November.
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