Obama takes Supreme Court fight to Chicago

Obama takes Supreme Court fight to Chicago
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President Obama on Thursday will return to his old stomping grounds at the University of Chicago, where he once taught constitutional law, to argue the Senate’s Supreme Court blockade breaks with the founding document’s principles.

Obama will meet with law students and faculty at the University of Chicago Law School to make the case that his high court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, deserves a hearing and a vote.

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The president plans to discuss “how he fulfilled his constitutional responsibility and presented the American people with an exceptional nominee for our nation's highest court,” a White House official said. 

He’ll also demand the Senate “fulfill its constitutional responsibility and give this eminently qualified nominee a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.”

Obama plans to take questions from the audience, which will also include judges from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and other local jurisdictions.

The event will be heavy on symbolism meant to highlight Obama’s background as a constitutional law instructor. He’ll appear on stage with David Strauss, a professor and former colleague at the university’s law school.  

It’s an effort by Obama to intensify pressure on Senate Republicans, who say the next president should choose a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Obama and his Democratic allies have been encouraged by a steady stream of newspaper op-eds criticizing Republican senators who refuse to consider Garland’s nomination and opinion polls showing a majority of Americans on their side.

The event takes place in the home state of GOP Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkBiden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (Ill.), who faces a tough reelection race in November. 

Kirk is one of a handful of Republican senators who have agreed to meet with Garland, a group that now includes Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTax season could bring more refund confusion Graham vows Biden, Ukraine probe after impeachment trial Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle MORE (R-Iowa). 

Kirk circulated a memo to his GOP colleagues on Wednesday urging them to consider the nomination of Garland, who also hails from the Windy City. 

But Republican leaders dismiss the notion that momentum is on Obama’s side. They say they will stand firm against holding hearings and votes on Garland, arguing their constituents should have a say in picking Scalia’s replacement. 

Grassley spokesman Beth Levine said the senator would use his breakfast meeting with Garland next week to discuss "the nomination and why the Senate will not consider a nominee until the next president takes office."