Judgments from the Hill and elsewhere were quick to be handed down on the President's nomination of D.C. Appeals Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, including from Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who doubled down on his position that no hearing will be held in an election year.
“Today the President has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests."
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was the President's right to nominate a Justice, and for the Senate to act as a "check." That means not holding hearings this year. McConnell said the choice of Merrick was not because the President thought he would be confirmed, but to politicize it.
"With two decades of federal court experience, Garland is fully prepared for all of the responsibilities he will face as our next Supreme Court justice – no matter how Senate Republicans try to spin it," said Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Online activist group Demand Progress said they were disappointed that the President didn't nominate a more progressive judge and was withholding judgment but called on Republicans to hold a hearing. "It's disappointing that President Obama missed the opportunity to solidify his legacy by appointing a true progressive to the Supreme Court," said the group. "As Demand Progress and other organizations determine whether we can support this nomination, one thing is clear: Senate Republicans must do their jobs under the Constitution and move without delay to give Merrick Garland a fair hearing."
"President Obama has met his constitutional responsibility and has put forward a nominee for the Supreme Court with impeccable credentials and qualifications," said Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, which has been pushing to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia this year. "The President has done his job, it's time for Senate Republicans to stop playing politics and do theirs and give Judge Garland fair consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court."
“In choosing Chief Judge Garland to fill this vacancy, President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to the Constitution and our democracy to make sure that the Supreme Court is fully equipped to serve our nation with its full complement of nine justices," said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
"Judge Garland is the most well-prepared Supreme Court nominee in generations."
“Chief Judge Garland is widely respected by legal experts from across the political spectrum and has a real shot at earning bipartisan support in the Senate," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Senate Communications Subcommittee. "It’s time to end the political gamesmanship and do the job that the American people elected us to do."