5/17/2016 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland, Senator Reed issued the following statement:

“I was extremely impressed with Merrick Garland.  He is supremely well-qualified.  Throughout his distinguished career as a prosecutor and as the chief judge for our nation’s second highest court, he has been a consensus builder who has earned bipartisan praise.

“Both Judge Garland and the American people deserve a fair, public hearing and a fully functioning government.  There is plenty of room for tough questions and respectful debate in this process, but fidelity to our Constitution should come first. 

“Republicans' stubborn refusal to even consider the nomination does a real disservice to our judicial system.  A fully functioning Supreme Court is essential to our government and Republicans should not deprive the American people of a chance to fully understand what kind of justice Merrick Garland will be. 

“I hope my Republican colleagues will reconsider their position and give Judge Garland and the American people the respect and consideration they deserve.”

Merrick Garland is currently the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and he has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, supervised high-profile cases at the U.S. Department of Justice, such as the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan. 

On March 16, 2016, President Obama nominated Garland to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  However, to date, Republican leaders have refused to hold a hearing on this important nomination.  If Republicans on the Judiciary Committee continue refusing to do their job, this would represent a major shift: since public confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominees began in the Judiciary Committee in 1916, the U.S. Senate has never denied a Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote. 

In the two months since Garland’s nomination has been pending, the Supreme Court has already deadlocked three times, leaving the Court unable to carry out its constitutional role as the final arbiter of our nation’s laws.