Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton encouraged voters Monday to consider the implications for the Supreme Court when they head to the polls and called for an end to “obstructionist” politics during a campaign stop on the UW-Madison campus.
Some Senate Republicans have said the next president should fill the vacancy and are refusing to consider President Obama’s recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
Clinton called for an end to their “obstructionist” politics, saying Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, should grant Garland a hearing.
“Today, I’m adding my voice to the chorus asking Senator Grassley to step up and do his job,” Clinton said.
The crowd applauded as Clinton criticized U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, for supporting the block on Obama’s pick. She encouraged constituents to contact Johnson and voice their opinions.
“Tell him to stop playing games with the Supreme Court,” Clinton said.
Johnson has said he wants the next president to select the replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, warning a liberal appointment would flip control of the court and put Second Amendment rights at stake.
"Ron is doing his job by protecting the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites and working to find other areas of bipartisan agreement -- maybe these career politicians should follow the example of someone with real-world experience," said campaign manager Betsy Ankney.
Clinton said the court used to protect the “little guy” but its more recent ideology has led our country in the wrong direction and given more power to the wealthy. She called the current court vacancy a “make-or-break moment.”
The next president could have the opportunity to appoint multiple justices given the age of some court members, Clinton said.
“In a single term, the Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement,” Clinton said.
Clinton said if elected president she would look for nominees with different life experiences and who would see the Constitution as “a blueprint for progress, not a barrier against it.”
The former secretary of state spoke to a roomful of more than 250 invited guests at Gordon Commons Dining Hall and Event Center in the heart of the UW-Madison campus eight days before Wisconsin’s presidential primaries.
Audience members included members of the UW-Madison College Democrats, former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and former Madison Ald. Scott Resnick.
The local crowd laughed as Clinton joked that some had asked her why she was campaigning in Madison when Dem presidential rival Bernie Sanders was polling well there.
She briefly mentioned flaws in Sanders’ college affordability plan when during a question and answer session after her speech but her most common target throughout the event was the Republican Party, which she called “extreme” and “obstructionist.”
-- By Madeline Sweitzer