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Obama to make Supreme Court pitch in Chicago

President Obama will travel to his hometown of Chicago next Thursday to make his case for the Senate to consider his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

Obama will speak to students at the University of Chicago Law School, where he once taught, about “fulfilling his constitutional responsibility” to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, senior adviser Brian Deese said Friday.

{mosads}“This is part of his desire to continue speaking to the American people about this issue … because the stakes are so high,” Deese said at a Politico breakfast.

It’s Obama’s first major public event on the Supreme Court since he nominated Garland, who also hails from the Windy City, on March 16.

The White House is making a public relations push to try and break Senate Republicans’ court blockade.

In the hours following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the next president — and not Obama — should fill the vacancy on the court.

Republican leaders have pledged they will not hold hearings or votes on Garland, citing the election year. But several GOP senators have said they will meet with the nominee, which the White House has called a sign of progress toward its goal of a confirmation vote.

Previewing the president’s remarks, Deese said he is committed “to making the case in a straightforward way that the Supreme Court needs to stay above politics.”

White House counsel Neil Eggleston also said Obama will warn of the dangers of keeping only eight justices on the court. The court has deadlocked on two recent decisions, meaning the lower court’s ruling stood.

Vice President Biden said in a speech last week that could lead to a “patchwork constitution” where federal law could be applied differently in different parts of the country.

Obama will echo Biden, arguing the Senate must “fulfill its constitutional responsibility and give this eminently qualified nominee a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote,” a White House official said.

After his speech in Chicago, Obama will travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco for fundraising events.

Updated at 11:47 a.m.

Tags Mitch McConnell

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