News / USA

    Democratic Senators Push for Vote on Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

    FILE - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s courtroom chair is draped in black to mark his death as part of a tradition that dates to the 19th century at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 16, 2016.
    FILE - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s courtroom chair is draped in black to mark his death as part of a tradition that dates to the 19th century at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 16, 2016.

    Related Articles

    Ken Bredemeier

    Two U.S. Democratic senators are joining a petition effort to force the Republican-controlled Senate to consider whoever President Barack Obama nominates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

    Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, expected to be the Senate Democratic leader in a year, and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called Wednesday for confirmation hearings on Obama's eventual choice and then a Senate vote on whether to confirm the nominee for the lifetime position on the nine-member court.

    They joined a liberal lobbying group called Progressive Change Campaign Committee that says it has already collected half a million signatures of people calling for hearings and a vote on whoever Obama nominates.

    Several Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say the Senate should not consider any Obama Supreme Court nominee and should leave the choice to Obama's successor, whoever wins the national presidential election in November, and thus give American voters a say in the court selection.

    FILE - Senator Chuck SchumerFILE - Senator Chuck Schumer
    x
    FILE - Senator Chuck Schumer
    FILE - Senator Chuck Schumer

    But Schumer predicted, "Senator McConnell will have to back off. I believe we'll get hearings and a vote."

    He added, "I am amazed at how upset people" are about Republican calls to not consider any Obama nominee.

    ‘Delay, delay, delay’

    Obama's Republican opponents say a new court nomination should not be considered so close to the next presidential election, with Obama set to leave office near the end of next January. Some have said hearings should not even be held on a nominee, while others have hinted they would be open to the hearings and perhaps a vote on Obama's candidate. The Republican presidential frontrunner, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, said at last Saturday's debate that Republicans should "delay, delay, delay" efforts to approve any Obama choice.

    Obama says he will make his choice known "in due time," and is scoffing at critics calling for him to forego making a nomination. He noted Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution calls for presidents to nominate Supreme Court justices and for the Senate to "advise and consent" on a nomination, with nothing saying nominations should not be considered in a presidential election year.

    Obama said he will offer an "indisputably qualified" candidate.

    On Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama "regrets...looking back on it," that he played a role, when he served in the Senate in 2006 before winning the presidency two years later, in using legislative procedural rules to try to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, a conservative judge appointed by former President George W. Bush who now sits on the court.  

    Earnest said Obama believes Democrats should have made a better public case against Alito's confirmation on substantive grounds, rather than try to thwart it through legislative maneuvering.

    The Washington sparring over the nomination has been intense since the 79-year-old Scalia, a conservative stalwart on the court for 30 years, died last Saturday.

    His replacement, whoever Obama nominates, could tip the ideological balance on the court, since Scalia was often the most vocal justice in the court's five-member conservative majority that held the upper hand in numerous 5-to-4 decisions over four reliably liberal justices.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora