Politics

Reid: Supreme Court Nominee Coming Soon

Democrats gathered outside the Supreme Court last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate will likely receive President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee "in a matter of a week or so," Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor Wednesday.  

The Senate has been locked in a partisan standoff over filling the vacancy on the high court following Justice Antonin Scalia's death on Feb. 13. Obama has said he will appoint a nominee, but Republicans have vowed not to give that nominee a hearing or a vote, arguing the next president should fill the vacancy. Reid and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with the president Tuesday to discuss the vacancy.  

"We have a constitutional duty to do our jobs, and that duty is to give advice and consent to the president when he sends a nomination up here, which he will have in a matter of a week or so," Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.  

Reid called on Republicans to consider the president's Supreme Court pick, calling their refusal to take up the nominee "unprecedented." Democrats have stressed they will continue to press Republicans on the issue, and several suggest that when the president names his choice that could place additional pressure on the GOP to act.  

Reid said in their meeting Tuesday — which also included Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and the committee's ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. — the president solicited suggestions from the top senators. "Yesterday in the White House President Obama said, 'Do you have any names for me? I'll be happy to take a look at them.'"  

Republicans appear unwavering in their refusal to consider the president's nominee, regardless of who that nominee is. During their meeting with the president, McConnell and Grassley reiterated their position , and McConnell emphasized his stance again on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.  

"The American people deserve to be heard on this matter," the majority leader said. "That's the fairest and most reasonable approach today. Voters have already begun to choose the next president, who in turn will nominate the next Supreme Court justice. It's an important decision."  

Contact Bowman at  bridgetbowman@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter at  @bridgetbhc .  

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