DANBURY, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) announced Wednesday that she will introduce the Senate’s Court Obligations Trump Unconstitutional Stalling (SCOTUS) Act, a bill designed keep Congress in session if the Senate does not consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court within 125 days.
“Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that he will refuse to consider Judge Garland’s nomination,” Esty said. “Members of the House and Senate get paid to make difficult choices on difficult issues every day. That responsibility doesn’t just disappear in the last year of a Presidency."
In modern history, the Senate has never refused to at least hold confirmation hearings on a Supreme Court nominee, whether or not the Senate majority supports that particular nomination, Esty said. The Senate has constitutional authority to reject nominees, yet in U.S. history every nominee who has not withdrawn from consideration has received a vote within 125 days of nomination.
The SCOTUS Act will require Congress to remain in session through the summer, during the July party conventions, and through the rest of the year.
“We should put country before politics and give Judge Garland full consideration for this extraordinarily important position for which he has been nominated and is immensely qualified," Esty said. "We should stay in session until the Senate acts as our founding fathers intended. We need to send a clear message that a functioning Supreme Court matters far more than election-year partisanship.”
The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a nominee for the Supreme Court from the time of nomination. Since Obama nominated Garland on March 16, that 125-day timeline would end on July 19 – which coincides with the first week of the summer recess.
Under the SCOTUS Act, once 125 days expire after the time of the president’s nomination, Congress must remain in session until the Senate holds a vote on the nominee.
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