Sen. Blumenthal: SCOTUS Should Warn Nation About ‘Great Dangers’ Posed by Scalia Vacancy

By Jose R. Gonzalez | April 20, 2016 | 9:36am EDT
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaks at a press briefing outside the U.S. Supreme Court on April 19, 2016. (CNSNews/Jose Gonzalez)

 

(CNSNews.com) -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court should warn the nation of the “great dangers” of leaving the seat vacated by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia open until after the 2016 presidential election.

“Maybe it’s time for the United States Supreme Court to tell the Congress and the American people about the great dangers and damage that would be done by a continuing vacancy over, in effect, two terms, or two years of the court,” Blumenthal told CNSNews.com.

Then senator made the comment after a press briefing in support of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, which was held on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington.

During the briefing, Blumenthal argued that the highest court in the land should weigh in on the Senate’s refusal to consider Garland’s nomination.

“Perhaps even the United States Supreme Court will express its opinion that there should be a hearing and a vote,” the first-term senator said.

“Because they are suffering the effects, the American people are suffering the effects of potential four-four tie[s] on critical legal and practical issues confronting and challenging our nation at this time.”

In response to a question by CNSNews on whether it would be appropriate for the court to comment on the Senate’s decision not to consider Garland's nomination, Blumenthal noted that the Supreme Court has expressed its views on political issues affecting it in the past.

“You know, it occurred to me going back to the history under President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt, that Chief Justice [Charles Evans] Hughes actually expressed his view, in fact, his opposition to the court-packing plan that FDR proposed. He did it in response to a request from the Senate, or the Congress, but nonetheless he did it,” said Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“And maybe it’s time for the United States Supreme Court to tell the Congress and the American people about the great dangers and damage that would be done by a continuing vacancy over, in effect, two terms, or two years of the court.

“But I think that the message today — ‘Do your job, just as Merrick Garland did his job’— is something that the American people appreciate and understand, wholly apart from whatever the court might say,” he said.

Related: Obama: If Senate Blocks Supreme Court Nominee, ‘Our Democracy Will Ultimately Suffer’

Related: McConnell: SCOTUS Vacancy ‘Will Not Be Filled This Year’
 

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