Delaware U.S. Sen. Coons to colleagues: “We should do our job”

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy

With a Supreme Court nominee possibly being named this week, U.S. Senator Chris Coons from Delaware is urging his colleagues to give whoever the nominee is a fair hearing.

Senator Coons visited with some Delaware school children on a field trip to the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday morning. During that visit, Coons talked about the dangers of a partisan fight over giving President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia who died last month.

“I’m worried that there is a new precedent being set, and I’m worried that we are at risk of taking the dysfunction that has dominated Congress in the last nine years and allowing it to spread into the Supreme Court,” Coons said.

Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said Scalia’s vacancy should not be filled until after the next president takes office. Just hours after Scalia’s death was made public, McConnell said, “This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Coons said that kind of thinking goes against the Constitutional responsibilities of the Senate.

In the last 100 years, Coons said, every nominee has been given a hearing and vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vote before the full Senate, except for two nominees who withdrew. “[President Obama] wasn’t elected to a three year term, or a three and a half year term, he was elected to a four year term in 2012.”

Coons, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is hoping his fellow lawmakers will change their minds once a nominee is named. “I have a very simple message today, which is to my colleagues in the Senate: we should do our job.”

Coons said he expects President Obama to make his pick public next week.

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