Obama calls Cornyn to talk SCOTUS battle

Obama calls Cornyn to talk SCOTUS battle
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President Obama on Tuesday phoned the second-ranking Senate Republican, John CornynJohn CornynSuccession at DHS up in the air as Trump set to nominate new head Trying to kick tobacco again This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington MORE, amid a major battle over the Supreme Court. 
“Appreciate the courtesy of a call from POTUS on SCOTUS nomination and criminal justice reform,” the Texas senator tweeted
Obama’s conversation with Cornyn comes as Senate Republicans are rallying around a decision not to hold hearings or a vote on a Supreme Court nominee in 2016. 
GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday they had reached a consensus not to hold hearings on any person Obama chooses to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
"We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president," Cornyn told reporters Tuesday after a meeting of the committee.
That strategy has triggered a battle with the White House and Democrats over filling the vacancy.
Republicans argue the next president — not Obama — should nominate Scalia’s replacement. Any nominee chosen by Obama is sure to tilt the balance of the court to the left.  
Obama and his Democratic allies say it would be unprecedented for the Senate to not even give consideration to a nominee. And they argue that leaving an open seat on the high court could affect the outcome of many key cases this summer. 
Despite staunch opposition from Republicans, the president has been working the phones to discuss the nomination process. In the past week, he called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFarmers: New Trump ethanol proposal reneged on previous deal Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate Positive quotes from Iowa senators disappear from EPA's latest ethanol announcement MORE (R-Iowa). 
The president has also phoned Republican and Democratic members of the judiciary panel.
Unrelatedly, Cornyn is a supporter of Obama’s push to overhaul the nation’s sentencing laws. But election-year politics have posed challenges to the bipartisan effort.