May 13 2016
This week, I had the honor of meeting with Judge Merrick Garland in my Washington, D.C. Office. President Obama nominated Judge Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Garland, who currently serves as the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is an impeccably qualified individual, and he’s been praised by members of both parties for being a consensus builder throughout his career.
Before serving in the U.S. Senate, I was privileged to serve as Governor of Delaware. During those eight years, I nominated dozens of men and women to serve as judges in our courts – including Delaware’s Supreme Court, Court of Chancery, Superior Court, and Family Court. When I reviewed candidates, I looked for people who were bright and knew the law, worked hard, followed the Golden Rule, and showed good judgement, good judicial temperament and an ability to build judicial consensus. I knew from Judge Garland’s unparalleled reputation as a brilliant and dedicated prosecutor and jurist that he clearly meets all these criteria.
During our meeting, I got to know Judge Garland beyond just his resume. I was struck by Judge Garland’s humility and respect for the law. I was also impressed by his personal character. Even during this arduous process, he continues to serve his community as a mentor to elementary school students in Washington, D.C. – something he has done for the past 18 years. He clearly fits the bill to serve our country as a Supreme Court Justice.
That’s why it’s disappointing that most of my Republican colleagues in the Senate continue their unprecedented refusal to consider Judge Garland’s nomination to serve on our highest court. It’s unfortunate that this nomination has been reduced to nothing more than a political spectacle. The American people deserve better. Judge Garland deserves better.
Every member of the Senate has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, some of us many times over, and failing to consider this nomination is an abdication of our responsibilities to this country, and to the American people who sent us here to cast votes on their behalf. It’s also a blatant example of playing politics with the Constitution we’ve sworn to uphold.
Until we move forward with this nomination, we are delaying justice, and we know all too well that justice delayed is justice denied. We have been sent to the Senate by the American people to put democracy into action. Each of us has a duty to cast our vote, and we should be given the opportunity to uphold it. It’s time for us to do our job and move quickly to fill this vacancy, and restore the Supreme Court to full strength.