Merkley Lambastes Senate Republicans For Supreme Court Block

May 31, 2016

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley visited the University of Oregon campus today (Tuesday). He spoke to constitutional law students about the Senate's refusal to hold hearings on the President's Supreme Court nominee. 

Since the Civil War only once has there been a vacancy on the Supreme Court for more than a year. The longest time between nomination of a justice and a Senate vote was 125 days. Justice Antonin Scalia died February 13.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in Washington, D.C
Credit Senator Merkley

Calling it a deliberate "job strike," Merkley derided Senate Republicans for not fulfilling their "advice and consent" responsibility to fill the vacancy. He says the reason is concern that an Obama appointment would tip the court and put Citizen's United at risk. That is the decision allowing corporations to donate unlimited sums of money to campaigns.

Merkley:"This at its heart is about packing the court over the specific issue of cash in politics. We've seen it this time, we saw it last here in Oregon in my last election campaign in which the Koch brothers became very involved. And by the way, thank you Oregonians for sending the Koch brothers out of our state. May they never come back."

Senator Merkley speaks to constitutional law students at the U of O.
Credit Tiffany Eckert

The Oregon Democrat told students the integrity of the Supreme Court is at stake. With no historical precedent for this, he warned the future may hold partisan warfare unlike any seen before.

Click above to hear full talk by Senator Jeff Merkley.