- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Displeasure with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell united liberal and libertarian activists Friday, when a group went to the Kentucky Republican’s office to deliver petition signatures demanding action on President Barack Obama’s eventual Supreme Court nomination.

Sara Duggan, a registered nurse, was among those toting boxes of signatures. After a polite greeting from a McConnell aide, she said the group wants the senator to “do his job” and allow a Senate vote on Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.

Later, she said she was tired of McConnell’s “blatant obstructionism.”

“How they vote is up to them and their own beliefs,” she said. “But completely obstructing the process is ridiculous.”

About a dozen activists gathered outside the federal courthouse in Louisville to voice displeasure with McConnell.

Keith Rouda, a local organizer with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said the online petition signatures were gathered nationally.

Meanwhile, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network is defending McConnell in TV ads running in Kentucky.

The group’s chief counsel and policy director, Carrie Severino, said the selection of the next Supreme Court justice is “too important to leave to politics as usual. Give the people a voice. Let them decide in November what kind of court they want.”

McConnell staked out his position soon after last week’s death of Scalia, a conservative stalwart. In a statement last Saturday praising Scalia’s “fidelity to the Constitution,” McConnell said the vacancy should not be filled until a new president takes office next year.

In a joint op-ed piece Friday by McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, the Republican senators said American voters have a chance to decide “who they trust to both lead the country and nominate the next Supreme Court justice. How often does someone from Ashland, Ky., or Zearing, Iowa, get to have such impact?”

Libertarian Ken Moellman said at Friday’s rally that he would likely find fault with any Supreme Court nomination by a Democrat or Republican. But he said McConnell’s insistence on waiting until next year to fill the vacancy “flies in the face of the intent of our Constitution.”

“The Senate should hold a legitimate debate on the nominee,” he said. “And then, make a decision, as a body, based on reason and fact.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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