Mayors press GOP senators to fill SCOTUS seat

 Mayors press GOP senators to fill SCOTUS seat
Dozens of mayors this week are upping the pressure on Senate GOP leaders to act on President Obama's nomination for the Supreme Court.
 
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In a Monday letter to Sens. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.), the majority leader, and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the local lawmakers say the Republicans' decision to ignore Judge Merrick Garland flies in the face of the Senate's constitutional duty to advise the president on filling high court vacancies.
 
"The Senate has a responsibility to act, both under the oath they have sworn and to the people for whom they have pledged to work," the lawmakers wrote on behalf of Cities for Action, a coalition of more than 100 mayors and counties advocating for humanitarian immigration policies. 
 
"Your willingness to meet this responsibility is not just a test of your commitment to fulfill the duties of your job, but your fidelity to the democratic values that are at the heart of our nation and our country’s history."
 
The letter arrives on the first day of the Senate's two-week recess, and advocates are hoping the home-state pressure will force the defiant Republicans to reconsider their position of empowering the next president to fill the seat.
 
With that in mind, a number of the mayors endorsing the letter hail from states boasting Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They include Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (Grassley); Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Utah (Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchHatch urged Trump to ‘speak clearly’ against hate groups The Memo: Trump tries to quiet race storm Senators push FTC to finalize changes to contact lens rule MORE); Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama (Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) SessionsFBI opens tip line requesting information on Charlottesville rally Sessions rails against Chicago during visit to Miami DOJ warrant of Trump resistance site triggers alarm MORE); Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas (Sen. John CornynJohn CornynImmigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Congressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy Wrath of right falls on Google MORE); Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina (Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Trump's Charlottesville rhetoric 'dividing Americans, not healing them' OPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct Supporting 'Dreamers' is our civic and moral duty MORE), and Mayor Ted Terry of Clarkston, Georgia (Sen. David Purdue). 
 
The local lawmakers, all Democrats, are emphasizing the impact of Supreme Court decisions on their cities — particularly a looming case challenging Obama's executive actions on immigration. For the Senate not to act on Garland, they charge, is to threaten entire communities under their watch.
 
"Our immigrant populations are part of the economic and cultural fabric of our communities, yet the justice they seek has been put on hold," the mayors wrote. "Adding any delay in considering a new nominee will further deny a resolution for the future of their families."
 
Behind McConnell, GOP leaders have dug in against any consideration of Garland, who heads the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Most are refusing even to meet with Obama's pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away last month at age 79. The Republicans argue that, in a volatile presidential election year, the voters should have a voice in that decision.
 
"We’re not confirming a judge to the Supreme Court under this president,” McConnell reiterated Sunday in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."
 
Garland is widely respected by both parties, and Obama's decision seems partly designed to put the Republicans in the toughest possible spot in refusing to act.
 
Complicating their blockade, some Republican senators say they'll meet with Garland. And at least one — Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkImmigration critics find their champion in Trump Trump's nominee to lead USAID has the right philosophy on international aid McConnell: Senate to try to repeal ObamaCare next week MORE (R-Ill.), who faces a tough reelection bid this year — is calling for a vote.
 
"Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why," Kirk told a Chicago radio station last week.
 
The mayors are not alone in using the long recess to badger the Republicans. A coalition of liberal advocacy groups — including MoveOn.org, Credo Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — are staging more than 50 rallies around the country on Monday targeting Judiciary Committee members and other Republicans facing tough reelection contests. 
 
 
“Senate Republicans don’t get to subvert the Constitution and refuse to do their jobs just because they don’t like President Obama,” Murshed Zaheed, head of CREDO Action, said in a statement.
 

MayorsLetterSCOTUS March.21.2016