Reid: Democrats could force vote on US high court nominee Garland

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McConnell Will Likely Not Approve Obama's Supreme Court Nominee


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Democrats may try to force a vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme court nominee, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday, inviting along Republicans who want to distance themselves from presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"We have a couple of options and we are deciding when to do that. And if we should do that. When and if," Reid said in a conference call with reporters.

The leader of the Republican-controlled Senate, Mitch McConnell, has refused to schedule hearings on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, saying the winner of the Nov. 8 presidential election should be allowed to weigh in on the Supreme Court pick.

A number of Republican senators in tough re-election fights are trying to distance themselves from their party's controversial nominee, yet they refuse to hold a vote on Garland, Reid said.

Photos of Obama appointing Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court:

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Obama appoints new Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland
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Obama appoints new Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, stands with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, shakes hands with with President Barack Obama as Vice President Joe Biden looks on as he is introduced as Obamaâs nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Washington. Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, stands with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, stands with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, center, introduce Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, as Obamaâs nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, stands with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as he is introduced as Obamaâs nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, walks out with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
This photo provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit shows Chief Judge Merrick Garland in 2013, in Washington. (U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit via AP)
FILE - In this May 1, 2008 file photo, Judge Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is pictured before the start of a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Washington. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court's oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc, he is retiring. President Barack Obama now has his second high court opening to fill. The leading candidates to replace Stevens are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, and Diane Wood, 59. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Deputy U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland, left, looks on as interim U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan answers questions during a news conference Thursday May 18, 1995, following a preliminary hearing in El Reno, Okla., for Terry Nichols. A magistrate ruled that there was enough evidence to hold Nichols in prison. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
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He said those Republicans should call on McConnell to confirm Garland, not hold the Supreme Court seat for someone as "radical and unfit" as Trump, a New York businessman who has never held public office. His Democratic Party opponent in the election is former U.S. senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

"They spend a lot of time these Republicans, spending a lot of energy trying to separate themselves from Donald Trump. But as long as they're holding a Supreme Court seat open for him, they're his minions. They're his enablers," Reid said.

"We're going to ensure that every American knows that as long as Senate Republicans are fighting to let Trump shape the Supreme Court for a generation or more, there's no daylight between them and Trump."

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