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Mar 16, 2016 11:30 AM

Shaheen, Ayotte weigh in on Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

President Barack Obama has nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and both U.S. Senators from New Hampshire have weighed in.

The nomination challenges Republicans to reject a long-time jurist and former prosecutor known as a consensus builder on what is often dubbed the nation's second-highest court.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, said the next president of the United States should nominate the replacement for Antonin Scalia.

"Empowered with a lifetime appointment, the next Supreme Court justice will likely have a significant impact on the court and the people of our country for years," she said in a statement. "In the midst of a presidential election and a consequential debate about the future of our country, I believe the American people deserve to have a voice in the direction of the court. I continue to believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the people have spoken by electing a new president."

Sen Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said Obama did what he was supposed to do.

"Today, the President fulfilled his constitutional responsibility," Shaheen said. "Now it’s the Senate’s turn. Every Senator swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and that oath applies to election years and nonelection years alike. Without question, the American people expect us to do our jobs. The Senate has a longstanding bipartisan tradition of giving fair consideration to Supreme Court nominees and I will continue to honor that tradition. I look forward to meeting Judge Garland in the near future, and reviewing his qualifications."

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