Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says ''the American people should have a say in the Court's direction.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told lawmakers that the American people should have a say in choosing the next Supreme Court Justice, just moments after President Barack Obama nominated a veteran appellate court judge to the position on Wednesday. Merrick Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, setting up a potentially ferocious political showdown with Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any Obama nominee. Considered a moderate, Garland, 63, is currently chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was picked to replace long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. "The American people should have a say in the Court's direction. It is a president's Constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate's Constitutional right to act as a check on a president, and withhold its consent," McConnell said. Senate confirmation is required for any nominee to join the bench and Senate Republicans have vowed not to hold confirmation hearings or a vote on any nominee picked by the Democratic president for the lifetime position on the court. Republicans are demanding that Obama leave the seat vacant and let the next president, to be elected in November and sworn in next January, make the selection.