The day after Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey met with President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, the commonwealth’s other senator – Republican Pat Toomey – said he too would meet with Judge Merrick Garland.
He would do so, Toomey said in a statement, to inform the eminently qualified judge that the senator has fallen in line with other Republicans in the Senate. Toomey wants the next president to nominate the next justice, not an executive in the final nine months in office.
Toomey acknowledged in a statement he took the meeting with Garland out of “courtesy and respect for both the president and the judge.”
However, Toomey followed the statement by noting “The vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing will not be filled until after the American people weigh in and select a new president. I believe that is the best approach for deciding whether to alter the balance of the Supreme Court. I plan on making that clear to Judge Garland when I meet with him.”
Shame on Sen. Toomey.
The American people have twice entrusted Barack Obama to make this decision. There is an appropriate constitutional check-and-balance already in place to assure the right person reaches the bench. It’s why the president nominates and the Senate confirms.
At the very least the Senate should bring Garland before the entire body. If the GOP-controlled Senate wants to reject Garland – a tough sell considering he was called a “consensus nominee” by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) after he was overwhelmingly confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals nearly two decades ago – then it can proceed.
Toomey’s belief that waiting for a new president “is the best approach” to overcome what could be a potential shift in the “balance” of the court” isn’t what’s best for the people of America, and his constituents in Pennsylvania. It rather represents the best outcome for his party.
Sen. Toomey faces re-election this fall. He is now one of nine Republican senators who have agreed to meet with Garland – six others are also facing re-election. We hope the meeting leads the senator to a change of heart and a shift toward doing the job Pennsylvania voters sent him to Washington to do.