Republicans in the Senate Just Give Up Doing Their Job Until September

Last week, Senator Thom Tillis made the startling assertion that confirming judges “has nothing to do with [Senators] doing our jobs.”  Republican leaders in the Senate followed up on that remarkable declaration by recessing until Labor Day

Congress-Gone-FishingThere are a whole lot of things that Republican Senators managed to prevent the Senate from accomplishing before the summer recess began last Thursday, but moving forward on federal judicial nominations is  one of the most consequential. It has been over five months since Justice Scalia’s unexpected death left a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and more than four months since President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill that vacancy.  It continues to fly in the face of history, tradition, and the requirements of the Constitution that Senate Republicans refuse to take action on Judge Garland’s nomination.  As President Obama stated in a column today, if Senate Republicans continue to refuse to even hold hearings for this incredibly well-regarded nominee,  “the consequences of congressional inaction could weaken our most important institutions, erode public trust and undermine our democracy.

In addition to its reprehensible inaction on Judge Garland’s nomination, the Republican-controlled Senate has delayed and obstructed lower court judicial nominees.  Since the Republicans took control of the Senate, the number of vacancies on the federal courts has skyrocketed from 43 to 83.  At all levels of the federal judiciary, the fair and timely administration of justice is at risk.  When the Senate returns in September, it is imperative that Republican leaders allow the Senate to #DoYourJob.