- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2016

President Obama on Friday urged Texans to pressure their two Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, to allow a vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

“I’m asking people here in Texas to make your voices heard,” Mr. Obama wrote in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle. “Let your senators know how important this is. Tell them that our courts should be above politics, not an extension of politics.”

Mr. Cruz, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and Mr. Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are among the GOP lawmakers blocking the Garland nomination. They say the decision should be put off until a new president is elected.

The president, who returned to Washington Friday morning from a trip to Cuba and Argentina, said a presidential election is no excuse to leave open a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

“I understand that we’re in the midst of an especially volatile political season,” Mr. Obama said. “But at a time when our politics are so polarized, we should treat a process of this magnitude — the appointment of a Supreme Court justice — with the seriousness it deserves. I’ve done my constitutional duty. Now it’s up to each senator to fulfill his or hers.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Thursday that Republicans have not offered any “substantive criticism” of Judge Garland, a moderate who has been praised by Republican lawmakers in the past.

“You’ve heard no one question his integrity, you’ve heard no one question his scholarship,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at Georgetown University.

Judge Garland, 63, chief judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was nominated last week to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Feb. 13 at age 79.

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