Sen. Mark Warner to GOP colleagues: 'Do your job'

On 'Your World,' Virginia lawmaker discusses the battle over President Obama's Supreme Court nominee


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right. This much, it seems that Republicans and Democrats are in agreement on. When it comes to certainly qualified potential Supreme Court justices, Merrick Garland is that, and then some, number one, Harvard, summa cum laude, Harvard Law, very instrumental in getting behind the whole Timothy McVeigh thing.

I could go on and on and on. But everyone seems to say he has impeccable credentials. So, certainly, he's qualified to serve on the nation's highest court. So, it's not about the guy as much as it is about the timing and the picking of the guy. You have already heard Republicans say we don't even consider this until after the November election.

And they are sticking to that.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner from Virginia -- I said from Virginia -- says that that is not the right way to do it.

All right. So, you know what they said, Senator. That is, hey, Democrats play these kind of shenanigans with us. I think they call something like this payback. What do you say?

SEN. MARK WARNER, D, VIRGINIA: Neil, I mean, what part of the Constitution says a president shouldn't appoint a Supreme Court justice in the last year of their term?

I mean, this is pretty simple stuff. I'm generally pretty bipartisan. I acknowledge that both sides make mistakes. But this one is pretty clear. Do your job. The president nominated somebody. He's qualified. There's never been a nominee who hasn't at least received a hearing.

If some of my Republican colleagues want to go ahead and vote against him, that's their right. That's their constitutional obligation. But to not even hold a hearing, I mean, this is pretty unprecedented.

CAVUTO: Well, they're using, Senator, something called a Joe Biden rule, that in the last year you don't even consider it. So, they say blame Joe.

And they're saying, and they're saying -- and they're saying -- I'm just telling you what they're saying.

WARNER: Neil...

CAVUTO: Leave me out.

They're saying, remember Senator Barack Obama when he played these kind of games. What I see, Senator, is both sides playing games with this. And that's fine. I understand politics. What happens now?

WARNER: But let's actually -- let's look at the -- but let's look at the facts for a second, Neil.

On this one, I have seen the comments Biden made. And my understanding, that was about somebody that might resign. This was not a case of somebody where the justices died. It was much later in the year.


CAVUTO: Do you honestly think, Senator, that Joe Biden would have changed his mind on that if something like this had happened?

WARNER: I know that this -- I know that the Constitution is pretty clear. The president nominates, the Senate shall advise and consent.

There's none of this punt in terms of the last year.


CAVUTO: No, I hear what you're saying, but they say the Constitution provides for what they're doing here.

Part of advising and consenting is saying, we have advised that we're not going to take this up until after the election. You say what?

WARNER: Then hold a hearing. If they choose to vote against Mr. Garland, who seems to me to be pretty darn qualified -- I'm looking forward to meeting him -- then vote their conscience and vote against him.

CAVUTO: Right.

WARNER: But the idea of simply saying more political dysfunction is good for what's going on in Washington, you understand why people in both political parties are voting for outliers, because we who are supposed to be putting the countries first...


CAVUTO: Well, you know what I have noticed here, Senator? And this is a rap on Democrats and Republicans. There's something about the last year of a president's term, the last year of a congressional term.

I guess it's just accepted nothing will get done. Nothing gets done on the budgets. Nothing gets done legislatively. The Republicans argue, we can't take up a serious issue like this in an election year. I have heard Democrats argue that. Nothing gets done.


WARNER: Neil, you have been in business. I spent my career in business.

Do you know any other place where every fourth or eighth year, you say, OK, we're not going to do anything this year? It's not like the rest of the world is taking the year off.

CAVUTO: No, I don't. No, I don't. But it feeds this narrative that

But both sides sort of cease and desist bridging a gap. And you're an exception. I will say, you will reach across the aisle. But that is almost poison these days to even talk that way. So, nothing gets done.
So, I think we should cut all terms by one year.

My problem with that, leave out the last year, then the last year of that cut year will become a nothing getting done year. It is ridiculous.

WARNER: And that is more dysfunction on top of dysfunction. That's just not what -- and people are angry.

I think you wouldn't see the kind of vote particularly for Trump that you have seen if there wasn't that level of anger. So let's do what the Constitution says. The president nominated somebody. Let's review them. If you want to vote against him, that's your constitutional right.


CAVUTO: Right. Well, actually, no, Senator, I will accept that. I actually agree with you on that.

Here's what worries me, though, because they go back. And it's like I have two teenage boys, Senator, and they go at each other, not all the time -- actually most of the time.


CAVUTO: And I have to separate them. And it sounds like, well, I have had Republicans on: Well, they did that to us when we were here. And Biden and then Senator Obama, and he's a hypocrite.

And I can remember back then, covering prior Supreme Court appointments, well, you should see what the Republicans did to us when we were in this same situation.

And I'm going nuts. Like, all right, let's say both parties were guilty of playing small politics. Someone is going to have to rise above this and say this is stupid. And, by the way, while we move on this, and yea or nay on this judge, why don't we get a budget accord together, why don't we talk about tax reform?

But everything freezes. Everything freezes.

WARNER: Well, listen, that is why somebody like Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, are not taking that approach on something as important as digital security.

We're saying we have got to deal with this encryption Apple-FBI issue. Let's get experts in the room and solve it. This is not a problem that is going to go away. It's why I have been working on a whole series of issues around...


CAVUTO: But everything freezes. Everything freezes.

WARNER: Well, let's actually try to prove it wrong on this case, at least in terms of following what the Constitution says.

I understand why people are mad and they want to throw stuff at the TV. I'm mad, too. And you and I are both inside the TV. We have got to do better.


Real quickly, are you going to be Hillary Clinton's vice president?

WARNER: I am supporting Hillary Clinton, but I think my value-add is to try to actually get some of these folks on both sides to sit down and work out some of these issues, particularly when it comes to the budget.

CAVUTO: Well, they like you a lot on the other side of the aisle. There's a great deal to count for that.

They don't flip over her. I'm not trying to disparage her. But they don't flip over her. You would be a good bridge for that. Would you entertain that?

WARNER: Hey, what I'm going to entertain is trying to make the Senate work in a better and more functional way.

CAVUTO: I have never, in all the years have I done this, when I have asked someone about, would you ever be a running mate, they handle it just as deftly as you did there.

So, I guess that's a way of saying you're not going to say.

WARNER: Not my first rodeo.

CAVUTO: I got you.

All right, Senator, very good having you. I appreciate it.

WARNER: Thank you, Neil. Yes, sir.

CAVUTO: All right.

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