U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid found a supportive audience when he took his Supreme Court nomination campaign to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Friday.
With UNLV law students standing behind him, Reid once again called for an end to what he called Republican obstruction over the nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Reid was welcomed with applause by the law students.
Speaking from a podium bearing a sign that read, “America says to Senate Republicans: Do your job,” Reid blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for refusing to allow a vote on a nominee ahead of the next presidential inauguration.
“I can’t imagine a senator who would follow such dumb advice,” said Reid, referring to other senators who have followed McConnell’s lead. Among those senators is Nevada’s other senator, Republican Dean Heller.
Speaking at the Boyd Law School at UNLV, Reid was joined by the UNLV chapter of the American Constitutional Society, which describes itself as nonpartisan. Society national President Caroline Fredrickson this month called Garland “impeccably qualified” and urged the Senate to provide “advice and consent.”
Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Republicans have strongly supported the delay of a Senate confirmation vote. Democratic leaders say postponing such consideration could prevent the court from making key decisions.
In remarks Friday, Reid said of the Democratic Party, “We have never held up a Supreme Court justice.”
In 2006, several Senate Democrats attempted a filibuster against President George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, though it did not block or delay a vote.
Regarding the filibuster, Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told the fact-checking site Politifact, “No lay person could possibly consider this to be on the same planet as what Republicans are doing to Garland.”
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan’s high court nominee, Robert Bork, faced stiff Democratic opposition but still faced a hearing and Senate vote, which he lost.
On Friday, Reid said he chose the UNLV venue because of its law school. “This is a place we should talk about the Constitution,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court deadlocked in a case for the first time since Scalia’s death. The case was to decide whether a pair of wives should be held responsible for the real estate failures of their husbands.
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