President Barack Obama sharply criticized Republicans in Congress on Thursday for “willfully” preventing the Supreme Court from functioning properly, effectively placing the blame for the deadlock in a high-stakes immigration case, United States v. Texas, on their refusal to confirm his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
“Today, the Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision,” Obama said in a press conference from the White House. “This is a part of the consequence of the Republican failure so far to give a fair hearing to Mr. Merrick Garland.”
“Today’s situation underscores the degree to which the court is not able to function the way it’s supposed to,” he continued. “The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench.”
Shortly before the president’s remarks, the Supreme Court announced that it could not reach a decision in the case, which challenged the president’s executive action to protect nearly 4 million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and allow them to legally obtain work in the United States. The tie upholds a lower court’s ruling that prevent Obama’s plan from taking effect.
“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system and to allow people to come out of the shadows who are left with a perpetual shadows on them.”
Obama said that the tie took “us further from the country we aspire to be.” He also pointed to the upcoming general election as a choice Americans can make on delivering progress to a broken immigration system.