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Shelby and Byrne Critical of Obama’s Decision to Appoint a Nominee to the Supreme Court

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and US Representative Bradley Byrne both released statements in response to President Barack H. Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Senator Shelby said, “President Obama and I strongly disagree on which direction to take our nation, and I believe that we should do everything in our power to block him from further damaging the future of America. Rather than nominating an individual who will preserve the conservative legacy of the late Antonin Scalia, President Obama is attempting to solidify his liberal agenda by drastically changing the direction of the Court for decades to come. This critical decision should be made after the upcoming presidential election so that the American people have a voice. I am adamantly opposed to any Senate action on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland to the Supreme Court, and I urge my conservative colleagues to join me.”

Sen. Shelby said that on March 19, 1997 he opposed the nomination of Garland to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Congressman Bradley Byrne said in a statement, “The President has the authority to nominate anyone he wants to serve on the Supreme Court; however, only with the advice and consent of the Senate may that person be appointed to the Court. As I have said before, the Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until a new president is elected. This is not about Judge Garland. This is about ensuring the American people have a chance to weigh in through the electoral process before such an impactful decision is made.”

Rep. Byrne has previously joined a number of his House colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) urging the Senate not to confirm any Supreme Court justice nominee until after the inauguration of the next president.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) issued his own statement regarding President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court: “This has never been about who the nominee is. It is about a basic principle. Under our Constitution, the president has every right to make this nomination, and the Senate has every right not to confirm a nominee. I fully support Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley’s decision not to move forward with the confirmation process. We should let the American people decide the direction of the court.”

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The Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus wrote, “Make no mistake: Obama’s nominee will not follow Justice Scalia’s constitutional philosophy of originalism. There’s already speculation that he would reverse a fundamental Second Amendment decision written by Scalia himself. Garland cannot be the person who succeeds Scalia.” “From Chuck Grassley to Mike Lee, the Senate Judiciary Committee is waiting until the American people vote for our next president to confirm a nominee.”

President Barack Obama argued that it is his duty as President to appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court and that it is the duty of Congress to consider his appointee.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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