Obama Plans Chicago Trip to Push Supreme Court Nominee

The president is set to lobby for Merrick Garland at the University of Chicago Law School Thursday

President Barack Obama will visit the University of Chicago Law School on Thursday to discuss his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, with students and faculty.

During the trip, Obama will make his case for Garland and touch on the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to give a fair hearing to a qualified nominee, a White House source confirms.

Obama nominated the fellow Chicago native to the Supreme Court at a White House Rose Garden ceremony in March.

Republican lawmakers are pushing to block Obama’s nomination until a new president is elected next year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Garland after he was nominated to inform him that the Senate would not move forward with the confirmation process.

"I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up-or-down vote," Obama said during his nomination announcement. "If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair."

Garland met with Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk last Tuesday and visited with Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday.

"We need open-minded, rational, responsible people to… make sure the process works," Kirk told reporters in his Senate office prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

Obama taught constitutional law at the university for over a decade.  

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