The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) have called on Senate Republicans to fulfill their constitutional obligations and fill the Supreme Court's vacant seat.

CHC: GOP's "Obstructionism Knows No Limits"

On Tuesday, CHC members united on the Supreme Court vacancy situation, following a meeting that included President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The court vacancy affects several cases impacting the Latino community.

According to CHC Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., Republicans refusing to fill the vacancy have shown hypocrisy by claiming to defend the Constitution.

"Republican obstructionism knows no limits. They claim to love the Constitution and then stand in the way of upholding it. Once again, Republicans are playing politics instead of doing what's right for our country. There are several cases critically important for Latinos before the Supreme Court this year and without a ninth Justice, the Latino community has so much to lose," said Sanchez in a statement, adding that the CHC supports a swift nomination of a Supreme Court justice who will keep the interests of Latinos and all minority groups in mind.

CHC Vice Chair Michelle Lujan, D-N.M., said Republicans' refusal to consider a nominee would be detrimental to cases under review. Upcoming cases involve affirmative action and Obama's November 2014 immigration executive actions, which saw the introduction of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanded guidelines of the Deferred Action for Childhood Accountability (DACA).

On Wednesday morning, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the only CHC member serving in the Senate, addressed the vacancy.

Menendez said he supports Obama's commitment to nominate a qualified Supreme Court justice no matter when the vacancy occurs, whether it is an election year or not.

"What is most astonishing is that they claim -- like Justice [Antonin] Scalia -- that the Constitution is carved in stone, that it's undeniable and impervious to interpretation, and yet - somehow -- they then completely ignore what it clearly states in yet another effort to obstruct this President's ability to govern," said Menendez. He added that he and Obama may have their differences, but they agree the vacancy should be filled.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., shared a similar statement on Tuesday, stating that Republicans have consistently spoken about defending the U.S. Constitution "except when they are against it."

"Senate Republicans should do their jobs: hold hearings, vet the President's nominee, and have a vote approving or disapproving. That is what the Founding Fathers meant by 'advice and consent,'" said Gutiérrez.

Senate GOP's Opposition

Last month, McConnell recognized Obama has a right to nominate someone, but noted the Senate also has a constitutional right to provide or withhold consent.

Grassley, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had already announced his fellow committee Republicans agreed to "withhold consent of a Supreme Court nomination until the next U.S. president is sworn in.

"We intend to exercise the constitutional power granted the Senate under Article II, Section 2 to ensure the American people are not deprived of the opportunity to engage in a full and robust debate over the type of jurist they wish to decide some of the most critical issues of our time," wrote Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, including Grassley and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz. "Because our decision is based on constitutional principle and born of a necessity to protect the will of the American people, this Committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next President is sworn in on January 20, 2017."

Following the meeting with Obama on Tuesday, Grassley issued a statement reiterating his stance that considering a nominee during an election year would be a bad idea.

"Whether everybody in the meeting today wanted to admit it, we all know that considering a nomination in the middle of a heated presidential campaign is bad for the nominee, bad for the court, bad for the process, and ultimately bad for the nation. It's time for the people to voice their opinion about the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system of government," Grassley said.

Despite the vocal opposition, Obama has said he will move forward and will nominate someone soon.


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