U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) met yesterday with Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, which was caused by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Republicans in the Senate have largely refused to meet with Garland or hold hearings for his nomination, claiming that since it is an election year,  it should be the responsibility of the next president to fill the seat.

Currently the majority of Americans believe the seat should be filled by the Obama administration at 52 percent, with 30 percent believing the seat should be left vacant and the remaining 18 percent having no opinion, according to a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal Poll.

Last week, Garland met with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley who maintained that the Senate would not approve any nomination from the White House during this election year, according to CBS News. Garland has met with a total of seven Republican and twelve Democratic senators since his nomination, according to NBC News.

Following the meeting, Stabenow expressed her support for Garland while addressing the media.

“He clearly is somebody that is incredibly competent and brings a breadth and a wealth of experience to the job,” she said.

Garland — a moderate — has drawn praise from both parties for his years of experience in the American judicial system and is widely recognized for his dedication to public service. Stabenow also called for action from Republicans in the advancement of Garland’s Supreme Court role.

“This is someone who has dedicated his life to serving the public and making sure that your laws were fair and that there is respect for the political process,” Stabenow said. “We need to have respect for him, and he needs to have a vote.”

The meeting also marked the 21st anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings that killed 168 people and injured more than 500. Garland supervised investigation of the bombings and oversaw the prosecution. Stabenow praised Garland for his successful conviction of Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, in the investigation.

“It’s clear to me that if he is given a vote in the United States Senate, that it would be very hard for people to vote against such an incredibly qualified man,” she said.


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