The Senate leadership's plan to blockade President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court is the "height of arrogance," former Attorney Gen. Eric Holder says — lashing out at GOP lawmakers for repeatedly refusing to "meet the president halfway."
"The notion that the Majority Leader Sen. McConnell, without knowing who the nominee was going to be pronounced the nomination dead even before [its] arrival is in some ways the height of arrogance," Holder tells Buzz Feed News. "But also I think it's irresponsible."
The delay to await a new president would "put at risk" government function and hobble the judicial branch, Holder asserts.
"The reality is that unless somebody is confirmed this year the court will probably go without a ninth member for 15 to 16 months, which is the longest period of time that we've had a vacancy that long since the Civil War," he tells Buzz Feed News.
"If you think about all the major cases that this court has to deal with that's a very disturbing prospect. And all of that can be avoided by simply considering the nominee that the president makes and then making a determination as to whether that person is fit."
He bitterly scolded Republican lawmakers, blaming them for government dysfunction – and calling their balk at a Supreme Court pick typical of their inaction throughout Obama's presidency.
"This notion that somehow or other the president is equally to blame for the dysfunction in Washington really flies in the face of the facts," Holder tells Buzz Feed News.
"It's the Republicans who have been unwilling to do anything to meet the president halfway. He's offered his hand and they've just kind of pushed it aside. And I think with regard to the potential nominee, this is just typical of the way in which they have used the power that they have for the past seven years."
Obama is widely expected to announce his pick
to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia this week, choosing from a short list that includes federal judges Merrick Garland, Paul Watford, and Sri Srinivasan, and a less likely choice of Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Washington, D.C. district court judge.
"I'm confident the president will nominate somebody who is in the mainstream of American legal thought," Holder tells Buzz Feed.
Ahead of the pick, however, both the White House, which is activating a battle plan to push the nominee
, and, according to the Associated Press
, the Republican National Committee, which is making a strategy to oppose the White House pick, are gearing up.
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