CHICAGO - Five Illinois Members of Congress joined together Friday to say that Senator Kirk must fight Mitch McConnell and his Republican Senate colleagues harder if he expects to have any credibility in his call for hearings.
The pressure is expected to increase this week, as President Obama is scheduled to return to the University of Chicago Wednesday to ramp up support for his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Congressman Bobby Rush, Congressman Danny Davis, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Mike Quigley and Congresswoman Robin Kelly are demanding that the U.S. Senate hold hearings for Garland's consideration.
“As far as I’m concerned this is just theater. Because Senator (Mark) Kirk is running for office, he decided to be one of the actors. If he weren’t running for office, he probably wouldn’t have had the meeting (with Garland), so it really calls into question his sincerity. This is just one of the things in a long line of disrespect that the President has been shown by the Republican Party,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D).
Congressman Bobby Rush (D) noted that the U.S. Senate should hang out a “gone fishin’” sign and that Mark Kirk “Needs to get in his [McConnell] face. Right now he’s not even shadow boxing – he’s ‘silhouette boxing’.”
Schakowsky noted that never in history has the Senate failed to do its job to advise and consent on a President’s Supreme Court nomination. “Mitch McConnell, for the first time in US history, is indefensibly defying the Constitution and putting the final touches on his disrespect for President Obama. We can’t let Mitch McConnell and Senator Kirk ‘Trump’ the Supreme Court,” she said.
Congressman Mike Quigley said that it’s about time Senate Republicans recognize Barack Obama is President.
“The way the Constitution works is the people decide who the next nominee (for the Supreme Court) is by electing the president. The people have already decided who should make this decision, they have elected President Obama twice,” he said. Quigley added that the Republican claim that President Obama is a lame duck is untrue. “The lame duck period is between election day and inauguration, “ he explained in a statement released Friday.
Congressman Davis agreed that Senator Kirk is not giving his all in the fight for the Senate to do its job under the constitution.
“I am pleased to join my democratic colleagues to call on Senator Mark Kirk to make greater use of his being, greater use of his self and greater use of his influence to convince Mitch McConnell and convince the Republican leadership in the Senate that we need - that the country needs - a confirmation hearing so we can have the full strength of the Supreme Court as they deliberate of the issues of the day. There is no excuse to not,” Davis said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that not since the 1800's has the U.S. Senate held hearings for a Supreme Court justice nominee. The court now stands at a 4-4 tie after the sudden death of Antonin Scalia.