Barack Obama says congressional Republicans are deliberately keeping the Supreme Court one justice short.
In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Obama wrote that Republicans are "failing the American people," by refusing to hold a vote for Merrick Garland, who Obama nominated to fill the late justice Antonin Scalia's seat after Scalia passed away in February.
Republican leaders, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, have maintained that the seat should remain empty until after the election in November.
"In a city of self-inflicted wounds, this one is more dangerous and less defensible than most," Obama wrote.
So far, the Republicans have had their way. Obama pointed out that Garland has waited more than five months longer than the "average nominee" has waited for a vote. The Supreme Court returns to work this week with only eight justices.
"Every day that GOP Senate leaders block this nomination, they hamstring the entire third branch of government," Obama wrote.
He also laid into congressional Republicans, saying that they've "lost sight of their basic mission."
"By hobbling the Supreme Court for what could be a year or longer, Republicans are eroding one of the core institutions of American democracy," Obama wrote. "This cannot be the new normal."
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