WASHINGTON (AP) – Merrick Garland has begun meeting with senators, a day after President Barack Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court.
Garland met today with Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, before heading to a meeting with Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Leahy told reporters that the court “would be a lot better off” with Garland as a justice.
But even before Garland visited the Capitol, Republican leaders made it clear that they won’t budge from their refusal to consider a replacement for Antonin Scalia until the next president takes office in January.
Stating what he called “an obvious point,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the two parties disagree over filling the vacancy and it is time for lawmakers to turn to other issues.
The White House says that after a two-week Senate recess, Garland will meet with the Judiciary Committee chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Grassley has been a chief focus of Democratic attacks for refusing to let the committee hold a hearing for anyone Obama picked, helping to doom the nomination.