Obama: Give Supreme Court pick ‘respect he has earned’

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama called on Republicans Saturday to hold a vote on his pick for the next Supreme Court justice and give his candidate “the respect he has earned.”
Obama chose 63-year-old centrist judge Merrick Garland on Wednesday for a pivotal vacancy on the high court to replace conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Republicans fear Garland will tip the court’s even balance toward liberals and have vowed to refuse him even a Senate confirmation hearing, with hopes that a Republican will take the White House in November’s election and appoint the next justice. Democrats are portraying the Republicans as obstructionist under the rallying cry “Do Your Job.”
The deadlock sets the stage for an election-year showdown that will see both sides attempt to increase the electoral costs for their opponents. “I ask Republicans in the Senate to give Judge Garland the respect he has earned,” Obama said Saturday morning in his weekly radio address. “Give him a hearing,” he added.
“Give him an up-or-down vote. To deny it would be an abdication of the Senate’s Constitutional duty. It would indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”
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