Press Releases

Sen. Warner and Democratic colleagues speaking in front of the Supreme Court urging Republican colleagues to commit to holding a hearing and vote on the eventual Supreme Court nominee. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to abandon their obstructionist tactics and do their jobs by committing to hold a hearing and vote on the eventual Supreme Court nominee. Following a meeting with President Obama yesterday, Senator McConnell and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley doubled down on their pledge to forego a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing or vote on any nominee President Obama names to fill the Court’s vacancy, regardless of qualifications.

“The President has repeatedly voiced his strong commitment to nominating an eminently qualified individual. That is his duty, and we must do ours. And to those who suggest that we should wait and let the American people decide, they already did when they voted President Obama to the White House for a second four year term, one which doesn’t end until January 20, 2017,” Sen. Warner said. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to step up, do their job, and give the President’s Supreme Court nominee the appropriate respect through hearings and an up-or-down vote.”

“If justice demands anything, it should be that we should analyze an individual on that person’s own merits instead of saying, ‘no matter who you are, no matter what your qualifications are, because you were nominated by this President,  we will create a unique rule for you and refuse to entertain you,” Sen. Kaine said. “What would be the reason why Congress would refuse a vote, refuse debate, refuse committee hearings, refuse event to meet with a [Supreme Court] nominee? I can only think of two reasons of why the Senate would not do its job and both are highly illegitimate in my opinion,” Kaine continued, arguing that the Senate is unwilling to do its job either because of a “fundamental disrespect for this President” or because of a “desire to avoid taking a vote and thereby avoiding accountability.”

For the past century, the Senate has acted on every Supreme Court nomination regardless of whether that nomination was made during a presidential election year.  The Senate has previously confirmed at least 17 Supreme Court Justices during presidential election years, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by a Democratic Senate in 1988.