WASHINGTON– U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., released the following statement Wednesday after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to serve on the Supreme Court:
“The president has done his job, and now it’s time that we do ours. With his nomination of Merrick Garland, President Obama has presented the Senate with a respected jurist that has been confirmed by this body with a strong bipartisan vote once before. He has served this country well on the federal bench for nearly two decades, including the past three years as Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit. Judge Garland has a reputation as a consensus builder—an important quality for any Supreme Court Justice, but it’s particularly important at a time when the Court and our country remains divided on too many issues. I look forward meeting Judge Garland in the coming weeks, and carefully reviewing his nomination.
“I am disappointed by the insistence of some of my Republican colleagues that we should not replace the Supreme Court vacancy until a new president is sworn in. This is unprecedented in our nation’s history. Each of us has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution – some of us many times over – and any abdication of this duty is a failure to serve the American people as we’ve been elected to do. The right and just way to proceed is to begin consideration of Judge Garland’s nomination right away, first in committee and then on the Senate floor. Each of us has a duty to cast our vote, and we should be given the opportunity to uphold it.
“As with many issues, I believe we should look to the example set in my home state of Delaware when considering judicial nominations. Before coming to the Senate, I was privileged to serve as governor of Delaware. In that role, I nominated dozens of men and women to serve as judges in our courts – including Delaware’s Supreme Court, Court of Chancery, Superior Court, and Family Court. During my eight years as governor, the state legislature never failed to consider a single nomination. Not one. Our state Senate did its job. They handled nominations thoughtfully and promptly – all nominations were given up or down votes. The idea of allowing a vacancy on any court – much less our highest court – for over a year would never pass muster in Delaware, nor should it in Washington.”