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

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:

9 PHOTOS
Obama appoints new Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland
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Obama appoints new Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. President Barack Obama annnounces Judge Merrick Garland (R) of the United States Court of Appeals as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, meets with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, meets with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (unseen) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: U.S. President Barack Obama and Judge Merrick Garland, the president's nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, walk into the Rose Garden at the White House, March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Merrick currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and if confirmed by the US Senate, would replace Antonin Scalia who died suddenly last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Judge Merrick Garland speaks after being introduced by U.S. President Barack Obama as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Garland currently serves as the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and if confirmed by the US Senate, would replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died suddenly last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, following the announcement of his nomination for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The nomination escalates a battle that will dominate the final 10 months of Obama's presidency, as the White House is locked in an unprecedented dispute with Senate Republican leaders who have pledged to ignore the president's choice. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama, center, announces his nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, right, as Vice President Joseph 'Joe' Biden looks on in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The nomination escalates a battle that will dominate the final 10 months of Obama's presidency, as the White House is locked in an unprecedented dispute with Senate Republican leaders who have pledged to ignore the president's choice. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama joins his Supreme Court nominee, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland (L), during the nomination announcement the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, March 16, 2016. Garland, 63, is currently Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination sets the stage for an election-year showdown with Republicans who have made it clear they have no intention of holding hearings to vet any Supreme Court nominee put forward by the president. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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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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