White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough predicted Thursday that the politics surrounding President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court will eventually “wash away” and that the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will be filled.
“He’s a judge who’s uniformly, among Republicans and Democrats, seen as somebody with the kind of temperament and the kind of excellence that should be represented on the Supreme Court,” Mr. McDonough said of Judge Garland.
“Given that set of facts, my guess is that the politics of this wash away and we end up filling that vacancy, as we’ve done now in this country for years,” Mr. McDonough said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Asked what gives him the confidence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will move off his position that the next president should make the pick, Mr. McDonough cited Judge Garland’s “remarkable qualifications” and said he has great faith in the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s served us well now over the course of more than two centuries in this country — we ought not throw that out now,” he said.
“If we were to take the position that the majority leader is suggesting is their position now, it’s completely, utterly, and totally unprecedented in the history of the United States Senate,” he said.
Republicans have said such a momentous process should not occur during an election year, and that they have the constitutional right to oppose or support Mr. Obama’s pick, just as it’s Mr. Obama’s constitutional obligation to put forward a nominee.
“My sense is that they’ll come around to this — we’ll have a hearing, we’ll have a vote, and that vacancy will be filled,” Mr. McDonough said.