Obama to GOP: Don't let Trump pick Supreme Court justice

Obama to GOP: Don't let Trump pick Supreme Court justice
© Greg Nash

President Obama on Monday said the rise of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE should give the Senate ample reason to confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. 

Senate Republicans have refused to hold hearings or a vote on Garland since he was nominated two months ago. But Obama said they should reconsider their stance now that Trump is the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee. 

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“Now what we have is a situation where having made that promise, Republicans are looking at a Republican nominee many of whom say isn’t qualified to be president, much less appoint somebody,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed.

“And it seems to me they’d be better off [to] give a hearing and a vote to somebody that they themselves in the past have said is well-qualified, is fair and to treat the Supreme Court with the seriousness … that it deserves,” he said of Garland. 

Despite constant pleas from Obama and Democrats, 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.) has refused to lift his Supreme Court blockade.

He and other Republican leaders have said the next president — and not Obama — should replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

But Obama brought up the fact that Trump has yet to release a list of potential nominees to the high court as something that should give pause to Senate Republicans.

“Precisely because this election year is so crazy ... shows you why you shouldn’t want to politicize a Supreme Court appointment," Obama said. 

The president also resurfaced a litany of arguments he’s made to try and convince Republicans, including that refusing to consider Garland could result in a “tit for tat” where Democrats block a GOP president’s Supreme Court nominee and leave eight justices on the court. 

“That means that laws are going to be different in different states and different jurisdictions,” he said. “People are going to be confused about what the rules are and that's not how our democracy is supposed to work."