Obama says he won't drop Garland for Clinton

Fox News Sunday: The Interview

President Obama says he will stick with Merrick Garland through the end of his term, even if a Democrat wins the presidency. See the full interview today on Fox News at 2pm, 6pm & 9pm ET.

Posted by Fox News Sunday on Sunday, April 10, 2016

President Obama will stick by his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, through the end of his term no matter who is elected to succeed him in November. 

In an interview aired on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama said he would “absolutely not” consider pulling Garland if Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Top diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Feehery: What Republicans must do to adapt to political realignment MORE is elected president in order to allow to her to make her own nomination. 

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“Yes,” Obama told Wallace when he asked if he is committed to Garland until he leaves office. 

The president said that if the Senate Republicans’ Supreme Court blockade is allowed to stand, it could set a dangerous precedent under which presidents could only make nominations to the high court if their party also controls the upper chamber. 

“What I think we can't have is a situation in which the Republican Senate simply says, because it's a Democratic president, we are not going to do our job, have hearings and have a vote,” Obama said. 

“If that happens, Chris, then it is almost impossible to expect that the Democrats, let's say a Republican president won, then the Democrats wouldn't say the exact same thing,” he continued. “They'll say, ‘Let's wait for four years, and we'll take our chances on the next president.’”

Obama spoke to Fox News last Thursday after an event at the University of Chicago School of Law designed to plug Garland’s nomination. Fox News released a clip of the interview last Friday.

The president called the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals an eminently qualified jurist and argued Republicans are refusing to hold hearings or votes on his nomination solely for political reasons. 

Republicans say the next president, and not Obama, should choose a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. 

An Obama replacement would surely move the ideological balance of the court to the left, something Republicans are determined to not let happen.

Garland has been received warmly by Democrats. But some on the left wanted Obama to make a more progressive pick. 

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE said last month if he succeeds Obama in the White House, he would ask the president to withdraw Garland so he could pick a more progressive nominee.

But for now, Sanders said he is supporting Garland and has called on Republicans to consider his nomination. 

--This report was updated on April 10 at 9:55 a.m.