(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland, chief justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the high court, warning Republican senators that if they block Garland’s nomination, faith in the justice system and our democracy will suffer.
“The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer. Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer. Our democracy will ultimately suffer as well. I have fulfilled my constitutional duty. Now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs,” Obama said in a Rose Garden ceremony.
Obama announced that Garland will travel to Capitol Hill to meet one-on-one with senators. He called on Republicans to give him “a fair hearing and then an up-or-down vote.”
“If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair. It will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics – everything,” Obama said, adding that it would “provoke an endless cycle of more tit-for-tat” that would make it “increasingly” impossible for any president “to carry out their constitutional function.”
“The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer. Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer. Our democracy will ultimately suffer as well,” he said. “I have fulfilled my constitutional duty. Now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs.”
Obama said he recognizes that “we have entered the political season” and that politics have been involved in nominations in the past, however “to go down that path would be wrong.” It would be “a betrayal of our best traditions and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents,” he said.
“At a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comedy are so often treated like they’re disposable, this is precisely the time when we should play it straight and treat the process of appointing a Supreme Court Justice with a seriousness and care it deserves, because our Supreme Court really is unique,” Obama said.
“It’s supposed to be above politics. It has to be, and it should stay that way. To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing let alone an up-or-down vote to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court when two-thirds of Americans believe otherwise, that would be unprecedented,” Obama said.