Alberto Gonzales, who served as White House Counsel and Attorney General under President George W. Bush, called for Senate Republicans to allow a floor vote on Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.
On March 16, President Obama announced that he will nominate Garland, the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Conservative media have urged Republican senators to refuse to even consider any Obama nominee, and GOP lawmakers have said they will not even give a nominee a hearing, an unprecedented obstructionist move.
In a USA Today op-ed, Gonzales wrote that Garland "is capable of doing the job by virtue of intellect, education and experience" and urged Senate Republicans "to provide a hearing and floor vote." From the op-ed:
With due respect to my fellow Republicans, this is not only about allowing American voters to express their will. Many voters are truly uninformed about the role or work of the Supreme Court, and relatively few will cast their vote based on a presidential nominee's views of the court. Rather, this fight is much more about the future direction of the jurisprudence of this country and the application of the Constitution to our daily lives.
However, instead of simply refusing to act, I urge Senate Republicans, when prepared, to provide a hearing and floor vote. The president has nominated someone who is capable of doing the job by virtue of intellect, education and experience. Judge Garland has a reputation for integrity and likely has the character to withstand the scrutiny that comes with the confirmation process. So if Republican senators were to oppose his nomination it would legitimately be based on ideology or the manner in which the nominee will discharge his oath as a federal judge.