WASHINGTON, April 12 (Reuters) - Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's U.S. Supreme Court selection, failed to persuade Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley during a private meeting on Tuesday to hold confirmation hearings on his nomination.
"As he indicated last week, Grassley explained why the Senate won't be moving forward during this hyper-partisan election year," Grassley's office said in a statement that described the meeting as "cordial and pleasant."
The two men met for 70 minutes in the Senate dining room. The Iowa Republican two decades ago also sought to block Garland's nomination to the federal appeals court on which he currently serves as chief judge.
Twitter's reaction to Garland's nomination:
Twitter reaction to Merrick Garland's nomination
US Senate Judiciary chairman Grassley tells Garland no hearings
This has never been about who the nominee is. It is about a basic principle. https://t.co/dGwHUBuLZw https://t.co/Z6nLdcuHWL
I commend @POTUS on his nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. https://t.co/orbFiOZ7oL
Statement on President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court: https://t.co/GTcLMLyS6I
Lame duck POTUS is doing us a disservice w/ attempt to tip balance of #SCOTUS in the 11th hr https://t.co/C4BhigPfES https://t.co/QDWz6o1ql4
.@SenateMajLdr McConnell comments on Supreme Court nomination is here: https://t.co/LvNozLmMQf
The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on the #SCOTUSnominee. So let’s give them a voice. https://t.co/8KyGZTuqoo
Merrick Garland is an outstanding choice for SCOTUS. A protector of civil rights and individual liberties. He MUST get a vote. #Doyourjob!
Judge Garland is fair-minded & independent, a consensus #SCOTUS nom who should be confirmed without controversy https://t.co/NjqMNmtBgk
.@POTUS has fulfilled his constitutional duty–now Senate Republicans must fulfill theirs #DoYourJob https://t.co/YOJIzyl37F
I will not vote for this nominee to the Supreme Court. (3/3)
"Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court." —@POTUS #SCOTUSnominee https://t.co/ak7vqV9sCM
Obama introduces Merrick Garland to Americans: He was born and raised in the Land of Lincoln https://t.co/OdbwLwokxG https://t.co/cpoisYPr2z
"He led the investigation and supervised the prosecution that brought Timothy McVeigh to justice." —@POTUS on Merrick Garland #SCOTUSnominee
"Merrick Garland would take no chances that someone who murdered innocent Americans might go free on a technicality." —@POTUS #SCOTUSnominee
Now, @POTUS has done his job — it's time for Senate GOP to do theirs. We must give Judge Garland the hearings & consideration he deserves.
.@scotusnom Merrick Garland is a thoughtful jurist with impeccable credentials; if he can't get bipartisan support no one can. #DoYourJob
There's never been a #SCOTUSnominee w/ more fed. judicial experience than @SCOTUSnom Judge Garland. #DoYourJob Senate & give him a hearing.
Congratulations to #SCOTUSnominee Merrick Garland, HLS class of 1977 https://t.co/cpm9i82i8Q
Now, all one hundred members of the Senate must do our jobs by providing advice and consent on the President’s #SCOTUSnominee
I will oppose any hearing or votes for President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.
Leaders must listen to the voices of our people before allowing ambition and partisan politics to consume our democracy. #DoYourJob #SCOTUS
As I have said before, the Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until a new president is elected.
Hatch this morning: "It's not about the individual. It's about protecting the integrity of the Court." #SCOTUS https://t.co/yRcj1Kemd8
Judge Merrick Garland deserves a full and fair hearing and a clear, speedy, public vote from the U.S. Senate.
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Garland later met privately with Lisa Murkowski, one of the dwindling number of moderate Senate Republicans. Her office issued a statement that also seemed to close the door on confirming Garland.
Garland was nominated by Obama, a Democrat, on March 16 to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Republicans who control the Senate are refusing to advance the nomination, prompting Democrats to accuse them of obstructionism and of ignoring their constitutional obligations.
Republicans insist that the next president, to be elected on Nov. 8 and take office Jan. 20, fill the vacancy, hoping a Republican will win the White House and choose a conservative rather than the centrist Garland.
Democrats applauded those Republicans willing to meet with Garland but said public hearings are essential.
"Dark-money groups (conservative contributors) are trying to do the Republicans' dirty work and sully Judge Garland's name while Republican senators prevent Judge Garland from explaining his views to the public," New York Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters. "That is cowardly, it's backward and it is wrong."
The White House released a letter written by 15 former presidents of the American Bar Association to Senate leaders urging a timely hearing and a vote on Garland's confirmation.
"The stated refusal to fill the ninth seat of the Supreme Court injects a degree of politics into the judicial branch that materially hampers the effective operation of our nation's highest court and the lower courts over which it presides," the former ABA leaders stated.
The conservative Tea Party Patriots and Judicial Crisis Network praised Grassley for holding firm against hearings.
In a Reuters-Ipsos poll that included 900 registered Democrats and 788 registered Republicans conducted April 5-12, 55 percent said the Senate should hold confirmation hearings.
The respondents were split along party lines, with 61 percent of Democrats supporting Garland's confirmation compared to 22 percent of Republicans.
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US Senate Judiciary chairman Grassley tells Garland no hearings
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