Obama to GOP: ‘I’m going to do my job’

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there is no constitutional merit in him not nominating a Supreme Court justice during his final year.

The statement was made following a letter from Senate Republicans to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday that revealed their refusal to hold any hearings, vote or meetings on the nominee.

Obama responded to their statements before reporters in the Oval Office following a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan. He said that while he would continue to do his duty, he urges Republicans to fulfill their role as dictated by the Constitution.

“I recognize the politics are hard for them, because the easier thing to do is to give in to the most extreme voices within their party and stand pat and do nothing,” Obama said. “But that’s not our job. Our job is to fulfill our constitutional duties.”

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia Feb. 13, a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court remains. According to the Constitution, the president appoints nominees while the Senate votes to confirm or deny the appointment.

In their letter, Republicans said they’re refusing to continue with the appointment process until a new president is elected to give citizens an opportunity to vet the candidate.

“[This will be done] to ensure the American people are not deprived of the opportunity to engage in a full and robust debate over the type of jurist they wish to decide some of the most critical issues of our time,” Republicans said in the letter.

The president also said in his response that there is no language in the Constitution barring him from making a nomination leading him to think the Founding Fathers would agree.

“None of the Founding Fathers thought that when it comes to the President carrying out his duties, he should do it for three years and then on the last year stop doing it,” Obama said.

Obama also responded to criticisms that he was a “lame duck,” or an official trying to hold office despite it coming to an end. He clarified that the “lame duck” window refers to the two to three months after a new president is elected but before they are sworn in.

“I’ve got a year to go,” President Obama said. “I don’t think [critics] would approve of me abdicating on my duties as Commander-in-Chief and to stop doing all the other work that I got to do. Well, this is part of my job.”

In their letter, Republicans cited Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution as justification for their decision. They explain that it gives Congress the power to vote on presidential nominations but that they are not obligated to.

The president warned that blocking the appointment process of Supreme Court justices would result in the decline of the Supreme Court as an institution separate from party politics.

“And at that point, not only are you going to see more and more vacancies and the court systems break down, but the credibility of the Court itself begins to diminish because it’s viewed simply as an extension of our politics,” Obama said.

Although no nominations have been made, Obama outlined his criteria for a candidate Wednesday in a blog post on SCOTUS Blog.

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