WASHINGTON -- Another Republican lawmaker is breaking from his party and urging the Senate to vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.
Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-N.Y.) said Monday that the the failure of GOP leaders to even give Merrick Garland a hearing, never mind a vote, is the kind of thing that makes Americans cynical about politics.
"I've never thought that was a good idea," Donovan told reporters at an an event in Staten Island, New York. "I've always thought that the Republicans were wrong, that they should see who the nominee was -- actually, the president nominated Judge Garland -- and judge him on his abilities, his jurisprudence."
Donovan, a first-term member of Congress, said senators who don't think Garland is a good choice should just vote against him instead of denying him a hearing. Garland is currently the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
"In the hearings, he’d be asked pointed questions, which I don’t think we have the advantage of now because we don’t have a hearing," said Donovan. "We'd be able to judge the man better if he was able to respond to some of the questions people have."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has more or less kept his caucus united in opposing confirmation hearings for Garland. They've made the unprecedented argument that Obama's time in the White House is nearly over, so the next president should get to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. The court has had an empty seat since Antonin Scalia died in February. That's had its own ramifications.
But a few Republicans have pushed for Garland to get a vote, including Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Senate hopeful David Jolly, who is currently a Florida congressman. Conservative Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas) surprised a lot of people when he said he, too, thought Garland deserved a vote. But then someone pulled him into a room and threatened some stuff (or at least it seemed like it), and he changed his mind.
The White House and congressional Democrats have spent months trying to shame Republicans into letting Garland's nomination move, using the hashtag #doyourjob on social media. McConnell hasn't budged, but public opinion has. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from April found that a majority of Americans think Garland should get a confirmation vote this year.