Senate Republicans: No Hearings on Scalia Pick

Judiciary panel reaches 'consensus'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2016 1:40 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to a closed-door policy lunch on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The chances of President Obama naming Antonin Scalia's successor just took a nosedive: Republicans on the committee that would consider his nominee say they won't hold any such hearings in Obama's final year, reports the Hill. Lindsey Graham said the Judiciary Committee reached a "consensus" on that during a special meeting Tuesday. "We should let the next president pick the Supreme Court justice," he said. And GOP Senate Whip John Cornyn reaffirmed the point: "We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had suggested previously that the chamber wouldn't take up the matter, and on Tuesday he issued what CNN calls his "most definitive statement" yet: "Presidents have a right to nominate just as the Senate has its constitutional right to provide or withhold consent," he said. "In this case, the Senate will withhold it." Republicans also are making a point to reference comments made by Joe Biden in June 1992, when he chaired the judiciary panel, in which he said that no court vacancy should be filled that year because of the election. The Washington Post doesn't think Biden's remarks will matter much because he was speaking hypothetically—there was no vacancy at the time—and because he was speaking in June, not February. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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