Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, stands with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Murkowski, Sullivan speak against Supreme Court nomination

Shortly after President Barack Obama announced he would nominate Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, Alaska’s two U.S. Senators released statements explaining why the president’s action was a bad idea.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is seeking re-election this fall and took a somewhat softer line than Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

“I believe he should have left that task to the next administration,” Murkowski said in part, speaking about the timing of the nomination. “Any nominee is likely to become a political football in the midst of this already contentious and divisive campaign season. This is not good for the nominee, it is not good for the court, and it is not good for the American people.”

Last month, during a visit to the Alaska Capitol, Murkowski said that while she hoped the President would not nominate someone to the seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia, she believed that nominee should receive a hearing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have said Garland will not receive a hearing.

“The decision to withhold advancement of Mr. Garland’s nomination isn’t about the individual, it’s about the principle,” Sullivan said in his statement. “Alaskans, like all Americans, are in the midst of an important national election. The next Supreme Court justice could fundamentally change the direction of the Court for years to come. Alaskans deserve to have a voice in that direction through their vote, and we will ensure that they have one.”

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