Washington (AFP) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected action Wednesday on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, minutes after President Barack Obama announced his pick.
Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell said he would stick by his earlier decision to withhold action in his chamber until a new president is elected. The Senate must vote to confirm nominees to the high court.
"The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy," McConnell said.
In announcing his pick, Obama earlier held out Garland as a judge with deep experience who had earned the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Urging the Congress to act on the nomination, he stressed that the Supreme Court was supposed to be "above politics."
Garland, 63, is currently the chief judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in Washington.