Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election A dozen senators call for crackdown on Chinese steel Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday said he would not entertain any Supreme Court nominee from President Obama, even if he nominated former President George W. Bush.
“It doesn’t matter if Obama would nominate George W. Bush,” he told host Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s MTP Daily. "I still would not do it. None at all."
“We should not be taking the nomination, considering the nomination of a president who is on his way out. We should let the people speak, and the argument is right. And we’re going to do that.”
Obama on Wednesday named Merrick Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as his pick for the nation’s highest court.
McConnell insisted that the Senate would not conduct a hearing on Garland’s confirmation, arguing that the next president should pick the next Supreme Court justice instead.
Inhofe said later that evening he spoke with Garland and informed him of his staunch opposition, adding that he bears the judge no hard feelings.
“I said, ‘I want to make sure you understand, there’s no misunderstanding,’” he said of his talk with Garland.
“’I will not support you or any other nomination of this president, because that would be breaking new ground, and I’m not going to do it,’” the Oklahoma lawmaker added. "Well, I’ll put it this way — I don’t dislike him.”
Inhofe added that he is so committed to the next president filling Supreme Court vacancies, he would even support hearings for picks made by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHelen Mirren gives advice for being a ‘nasty woman’ Pence on Trump threats to sue accusers: He's entitled to defend reputation Clinton gets birthday cheer on Hispanic variety show MORE.
“Yes, I’m willing to risk that,” he said when Todd asked him about a potential Clinton administration.
Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly last month, leaving the Supreme Court without one of its conservative members and in danger of ideological imbalance.
Critics argue that since Obama is in his final year in office, the American people should help replace Scalia by voting on the president’s successor first.
Obama has countered that he has a constitutional obligation for filling openings on the nation’s highest court as soon as possible.