Notre Dame Journal of Legislation

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on February 13th, 2016, after having served on the nation’s highest court for thirty years.1

Authors: James E. Britton

 Just over a month later, on March 16th, Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama to fill the late Justice Scalia’s vacant seat on the bench.2 In response to the nomination—a perfunctory presidential duty3 involving an ostensibly unobjectionable and eminently qualified appointee4—several members of the Senate’s Republican majority unilaterally refused to consider approval of Judge Garland.5 Their reasoning was predicated upon the claim that a nebulous “precedent” existed against the consideration of Supreme Court nominees appointed by an exiting Executive during an election year.6