Senate Candidates: No Recess Without a SCOTUS Nominee

House bill aims to keep the Senate in session through the summer

Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the Maryland Democratic Senate primary in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the Maryland Democratic Senate primary in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 18, 2016 at 11:12am

House Democrats hoping to win Senate seats have jumped into the Supreme Court standoff , introducing a bill to force the Senate to stay in session over the summer if it does not consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee .  

The bill introduced Wednesday would prohibit Congress from adjourning for the summer if the Senate does not hold a hearing on the nominee , Judge Merrick Garland, by July 19. Congress is set to be out of session for the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions in July and to take the entire month of August off.  

Related: Democrats Plan a Mock Hearing on Supreme Court Nominee
Four of the six signatories on the bill, dubbed the Senate’s Court Obligations Trump Unconstitutional Stalling (SCOTUS) Resolution, are House Democrats vying for the Senate this fall. One of lead sponsors, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, is expected to win in deep blue Maryland , succeeding retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

“Waiting nearly a year to begin the process of replacing a Supreme Court justice is a total abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibilities,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

Obama nominated Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in March to fill the vacancy left when Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13. 

The other Senate candidates who signed onto the legislation include Reps. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, and Patrick Murphy of Florida. Reps. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut and Jared Polis of Colorado are also sponsoring the bill.

Related: Democrats Play ‘Trump Card’ Over Court Standoff

Their announcement comes as Democrats are continuing to push Senate Republicans to consider Garland’s nomination. Republicans have vowed not to grant Garland a hearing or a vote , arguing that the American people should have a say in the direction of the court through the presidential election.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

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