McConnell will not meet with Obama's nominee

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Finance: McConnell tees up Puerto Rico vote | Britain's credit rating slashed | Clinton vows to appoint trade prosecutor Senate Dem blocks intelligence authorization over FBI surveillance Overnight Healthcare: Biggest abortion rights win in 25 years | Justice Kennedy again steps to the left MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he won't even meet with President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

McConnell said Republican members of the Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended to him that there should not be confirmation hearings this year to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

In light of that, McConnell said, a meeting with Obama’s nominee is unnecessary.

“I don’t know the purpose of such a visit [by the nominee.] I would not be inclined to take one myself,” he said.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell tees up House Puerto Rico bill Dem senator urges support for House Puerto Rico bill GOP senator praises Supreme Court's abortion ruling MORE (R-Texas) echoed that position.

“I don’t see the point of going through the motions and creating a misleading impression that something else is going on,” Cornyn said.

McConnell said the rest of the Senate Republican Conference backed him in a lunchtime meeting Tuesday. 

"The overwhelming view of the Republican conference in the Senate is this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president," he told reporters.

McConnell dug in his heels at an afternoon press conference as reporters peppered him with questions about his decision.

“I have many faults, but getting off message is not one of them. This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall. I agree with the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that we not have hearings,” he said.

“In short, there will not be action taken.”

Minutes before the GOP press conference, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerJuan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA This week: Senate showdown over gun control MORE (D-N.Y.) stood by his party's assertion that Republicans would face “tremendous pressure” from Democrats and from the public to consider a nominee. 

“The bottom line is, I think there’s going to be enough pressure on the Republicans and do their job and have hearings and a vote,” Schumer, the chamber’s second-highest-ranking Democrat, said as he headed to the briefing. 

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

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