Supreme Court nominee out in cold as election heats up

By:  Lawrence Hurley

Merrick Garland hit an unwanted milestone on Tuesday as the federal appeals court judge's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court reached its 125th day with no Senate action, tying for the longest pending nomination ever to the high court.

In a move with little precedent in American history, the Republicans who control the Senate have simply refused to take any action on President Barack Obama's nomination of Garland, 63, for a lifetime job on the nation's top court.

Having been nominated on March 16 to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13, Garland, chief judge of the federal appeals court in Washington, has now matched Louis Brandeis for the longest time between nomination and Senate action.

In 1916, the Senate voted to confirm Brandeis, making him America's first Jewish justice.

The U.S. Constitution assigns the Senate the power to confirm the president's nominations to the Supreme Court. The Senate's inaction on Garland has made the court vacancy a key political prize in a presidential election year.

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