By Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, at the White House in Washington March 1, 2016.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican leaders of the Senate on Tuesday rebuffed President Barack Obama’s appeal for hearings and a vote on his U.S. Supreme Court nominee during a face-to-face meeting that failed to budge them from their vow to block any nominee he offers.
Obama, planning to name a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the coming weeks, huddled with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley in the White House Oval Office for less than an hour.”Senator Grassley and I made it clear that we don’t intend to take up a nominee or to have a hearing,” McConnell told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting failed to produce any progress on how to proceed with finding a replacement for Scalia, a long-serving conservative justice who died on Feb. 13.
McConnell and Grassley are insistent that Obama not pick a nominee and leave the decision to his successor, who takes office next January after the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Obama is insistent that it is the Republican-led Senate’s constitutional duty to act on his nominee.
“They made clear in their meeting with the president that they’re not going to change their mind just because the president says so,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of the Republicans.