MADISON, Wis. – In her lengthiest comments on the Supreme Court vacancy yet, Hillary Clinton slammed Republicans for vowing to block the president’s nominee and called the standstill a “make-or-break moment” that is “revealing the worst of our politics.”
With this “obstructionism,” Clinton argued, Republicans are showing “the same disregard for the rule of law that’s given rise to the extremist candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.”
“It’s corroding our democracy, and it has to stop,” she said.
During a speech at the University of Wisconsin here Monday, Clinton outlined why she wants Senate Republicans to start confirmation hearings for the president’s pick, federal judge Merrick Garland.
“This is their job, but they refused to do it,” she said, making the case that the alternative “could demolish the pillars of the progressive movement.”
Clinton implored Wisconsinites to consider the future of the Supreme Court when they vote in the state’s primary on April 5 and asked the crowd to ponder what kind of judge or attorney general a hypothetical President Trump would nominate.
She agrees with Republicans who “bemoan the rise” of Trump, but noted that they are partially to blame.
“Trump didn’t come out of nowhere. What the Republicans have sown with their extremist tactics, they are now reaping with Donald Trump’s candidacy,” she said.
She also called out the Republican front-runner for running a “racist campaign to discredit the president’s citizenship” several years ago.
Last month, Clinton said President Obama needed to nominate “a true progressive” to the court. On Monday, she called Garland “one of the most respected judges in the country” and praised his bipartisan appeal but stopped short of endorsing him.
Regardless, Clinton urged Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley to “step up and do his job.”
“As one of the more than 65 million Americans who voted to re-elect Barack Obama, I’d say my voice is being ignored right now,” she said to applause. “We chose a president. We chose him twice, and now Republicans in the Senate are acting like our votes didn’t count.”
The former secretary of state also singled out Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who is facing a tough re-election battle this year, for failing to consider Garland’s nomination and campaigning off of it.
“Tell him: ‘Stop playing games with the Supreme Court,’” Clinton said on his home turf.
Pending court cases on immigration, education, voting and women’s rights underscore the demand for action, Clinton said.
Repeating an argument she’s made throughout the primary season to knock her rival Bernie Sanders, Clinton said the United States is not a single-issue country and she is not a single-issue candidate.
She opened her remarks, however, by acknowledging that Madison is a Sanders stronghold.
Clinton often mentions future Supreme Court vacancies in her stump speech, noting that the next president will likely name several nominees to the court during his or her term.
She has also vowed to overturn Citizens United, another feature of her campaign trail speech, and said Monday she’d fight for a constitutional amendment “to limit influence of money in elections” if elected.
“Please, make sure the court factors into your decision,” she pleaded. “It’s our Constitution. It’s our court. And it’s our future.”