Sen. Rand Paul won his office in part by showing an independent streak. Now it’s time for him to rediscover that quality by joining the growing group of Republican senators who favor a hearing and a vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Rather than examining and debating Garland’s qualifications, as the Constitution calls on them to do, Sen. Mitch McConnell is counseling Republican senators to refuse to even meet with Garland.
Garland has a 19-year record of service on the nation’s second-highest court. He was confirmed for that job with strong bipartisan support. The senate’s longest-serving Republican, Orrin Hatch of Utah, has vouched for his intellect and integrity. Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s senior legal adviser on ethics issues, says Garland “is the kind of candidate” he would have advised Bush to appoint.
I understand McConnell’s desire to have the vacancy filled by a Republican appointee. Justice Antonin Scalia’s death has given President Barack Obama the responsibility to make a nomination and he has done so. Now the Constitution demands that the Senate do its job.
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McConnell and Paul might not like that, but they took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.”
Chairman, Common Cause of Kentucky