MADISON, Wis. — Today marks six months since President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Garland, despite bipartisan support for his previous nomination to the federal judiciary, has been denied a confirmation hearing and vote by the Republican led U.S. Senate, an unprecedented obstruction of the operation of the nation’s high court.
Previously, a Supreme Court nominee has never had to wait longer than 125 days for a confirmation vote. Since the 1980s, every person appointed to the Supreme Court has been given a prompt hearing and vote within 100 days. In fact, 17 Supreme Court justices have been confirmed during an election year, including current Justice Kennedy, a nominee of President Reagan, who was confirmed by a Democratic Senate in 1988, a presidential election year.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has been a central figure in blocking action on not only Judge Garland but also Donald Schott, President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a judicial vacancy that is the longest in the nation at over 2,500 days.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Institute Research Director and attorney Jenni Dye on the six month anniversary of Judge Garland’s nomination:
“A confirmation hearing and a vote by the full Senate would be the perfect gift from Senate Republicans to Judge Garland on the six month anniversary of his nomination to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.
“We count on our courts to protect our rights and ensure everyone is treated equally by the law. It’s why they matter so much. But because of the unprecedented partisan obstruction of Sen. Johnson and his fellow Republicans we are in danger of the vacancy on our high court stretching into another term of the court, potentially preventing them from delivering final decisions on critical issues facing the nation.
“By refusing to do their jobs and act on the nomination of Judge Garland and other nominees to the federal judiciary, Sen. Ron Johnson and the Republican leadership in Washington D.C. are denying justice to people in Wisconsin and across the nation.”