Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday the Senate will not consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Obama did it "not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for the purpose of the election," the Kentucky Republican said.
He also said the Senate will "revisit" the matter when the next president nominates someone, adding that the people should have a say in who fills the currently vacant seat. "The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different," McConnell said.
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. Senate confirmation is required for any nominee to join the bench.
Earlier Wednesday, Obama announced that he had selected Garland to fill the vacancy left by the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
"Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution invests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice," Obama said at the White House Rose Garden. "The men and women who sit on the Supreme Court are the final arbiters of American law."
"This is not a responsibility I take lightly."
Obama was looking for someone who could persuade the Republicans to drop their vows to block any nomination by the lame duck president. Garland, 63, has a moderate record, was a federal prosecutor who oversaw the Oklahoma City bombing case and has a history of drawing Republican support.
"Over my seven years as president, in all my conversations with senator of both parties, ... the one name that has come up repeatedly, from Republicans and Democrats alike, is Merrick Garland," Obama said. "To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn't even deserve a hearing, let alone an up or down vote, to join an institution as important as the Supreme Court, ... that would be unprecedented."
Garland, 63, is the chief judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
"For me there could be no higher service than serving as a member of the United States Supreme Court," Garland said.
Garland was appointed to the appellate court by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1997, winning confirmation in a 76-23 vote. Prior to that, he served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration.
Garland was under consideration in 2009 for Obama's first appointment but the president chose Sonia Sotomayor.
In recent decades, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has been a springboard to the Supreme Court for several justices, including Scalia.