Vice President Joe Biden has called out the Senate for refusing to hold a vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court Justice nominee, Merrick Garland (video below).
“Everybody worldwide knows how dysfunctional the Congress is now,” Biden told ATTN. “It's just totally dysfunctional."
Obama tapped Garland for a seat on the Supreme Court after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. But with Obama in the last year of his presidency, Republican senators have refused to hold a vote on Garland, a federal judge.
The Republicans' argument is that the next president should be allowed to pick a Supreme Court Justice, not Obama.
“We are of the view that there should not be a hearing in the judiciary committee for anyone that the president nominates,” said Republican Sen. Jon Cornyn of Texas, according to ATTN.
According to a CNN/ORC poll in February, 32 percent of Americans believed the Senate should not hold a hearing, while 66 percent said the Senate should hold a hearing, reports FactCheck.org.
As for the 32 percent that agree with Republicans in delaying a vote until the next president takes office, Biden said that Obama's re-election in 2012 was proof that the majority of Americans wanted him to take the responsibility of a Supreme Court pick if an opening should happen during his time as president.
“They've had a say. They've already voted for the president twice. In the time we nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland, nobody has questioned his integrity,” Biden said. “Nobody has questioned his scholarship. Nobody has questioned his open-mindedness. But they said 'we're not gonna have a hearing.'”
Biden added that holding a hearing and a vote does not tie senators down and they're still able to vote against Garland if they choose to.
“Nobody is suggesting individual senators have to vote 'yes' on any particular presidential nominee,” Biden said. “But reading nothing, hearing nothing, is not an option the Constitution leaves open.”
Biden told ATTN the Senate refusing to act on matters it is required to could have more harmful effects.
“It's very dangerous to set this precedent because the tables will be turned,” he explained. “Congress has no right to take the dysfunction of the Congress and spread that cancer to another co-equal branch of the government.”