No breakthrough in Supreme Court dispute between Obama, Republicans

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Obama: Republicans Risk Diminishing Credibility of Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama met with leaders of the Republican-led U.S. Senate on Tuesday to push for confirmation hearings and a vote on his nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, but the Republicans again vowed not to act on anyone he selects.

SEE ALSO: US House Speaker Ryan: Republican nominee must reject bigotry

Obama, planning to name a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the coming weeks, met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, in the White House Oval Office for less than an hour.

The president and Republican senators are at odds over whether Obama should select during an election year a replacement for Scalia, a long-serving conservative member of the court who died on Feb. 13. The White House session yielded no breakthrough on how to handle the vacancy.

"We killed a lot of time talking about basketball and other stuff," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who also attended the White House meeting, along with the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy.

The Democrats said after the meeting that their Republican counterparts refused to drop their opposition to considering any nominee put forward by Obama.

"They were willing to meet with the president. It looks like they could at least meet with the president's nominee, which should be coming very quickly," Reid said after the Oval Office meeting.

"But they were adamant. They said, 'No, we're not going to do this at all,'" Reid said.

Under the Constitution, the president nominates Supreme Court justices and the Senate must confirm them. Without Scalia, the court has four conservative and four liberal justices, meaning that any potential Obama nominee could tip the court to the left for the first time in decades.

See potential nominees for the Supreme Court seat:

11 PHOTOS
Potential replacements for Justice Scalia, SCOTUS
See Gallery
No breakthrough in Supreme Court dispute between Obama, Republicans

Sri Srinivasan, Federal appeals court judge

(United States Department of Justice)

Judge Merrick Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

(Photo via the United States District Court for the District of Columbia)

Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney General. 

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Paul Watford, currently a U.S. circuit judge for the Ninth Circuit.

(Photo by Bill Clark/Getty Images)

Patricia Ann Millett, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, pictured here with Obama when she was nominated to that court.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

California Attorney General Kamala Harris

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Jacquline Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American woman named to the state court in California.

(Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval withdrew his name after the Obama administration expressed interest in late February.

(AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Reid said Obama made it clear during the meeting that he would be willing to consider candidates for the Supreme Court proposed by the Republicans, but McConnell and Grassley brought up no names.

The Democrats pledged to continue to make their case to the American people that Republicans have a constitutional duty to consider a nominee.

McConnell and Grassley did not speak to reporters after the meeting but were expected to make comments later on Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol.

Ahead of the meeting, Grassley and McConnell wrote separate opinion pieces on Tuesday reiterating their stance that Scalia's former seat should remain vacant until Obama's successor takes office next January and can choose a nominee.

Grassley and McConnell said leaving the seat open would allow the American people to have a say in the selection when they pick a new president in the Nov. 8 election. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Will Dunham)

More on AOL.com:
Nobel laureate Vargas Llosa calls Trump a 'clown and a fascist'
New bin Laden documents show a suspicious, pressured al Qaeda
A group of 30 black students were reportedly removed from a Donald Trump rally before it even started

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners