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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
In a Monday letter to Sens. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Trump orders elimination of student loan debt for thousands of disabled veterans MORE (R-Ky.), the majority leader, and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyWhite House denies exploring payroll tax cut to offset worsening economy Schumer joins Pelosi in opposition to post-Brexit trade deal that risks Northern Ireland accord GOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation 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 Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE); Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama (Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel MORE); Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas (Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE); Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina (Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week 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 Steven KirkAdvocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio Ex-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby 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