Mar 16 2016 Merrick Garland Alabama reaction: Shelby 'adamantly opposed' to hearings for Obama's SCOTUS pick

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said Wednesday he is "adamantly opposed to any Senate action" on President Barack Obama's nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, arguing that Obama's pick is an attempt by the president "to solidify his liberal agenda."

"President Obama and I strongly disagree on which direction to take our nation, and I believe that we should do everything in our power to block him from further damaging the future of America," Shelby said in a statement. "Rather than nominating an individual who will preserve the conservative legacy of the late Antonin Scalia, President Obama is attempting to solidify his liberal agenda by drastically changing the direction of the Court for decades to come."

President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following Scalia's death, Shelby said that his replacement should be left up to Obama's successor.

"This critical decision should be made after the upcoming presidential election so that the American people have a voice," the senator said.  "I am adamantly opposed to any Senate action on President Obama's nomination of Judge Garland to the Supreme Court, and I urge my conservative colleagues to join me."

Shelby was one of 23 senators -- all Republicans -- not to confirm Garland for a spot on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. His state counterpart, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also voted against Garland's confirmation in 1997. 

Sessions could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, said the Senate should not confirm Garland, but did not say whether he believes the body should hold hearings on Obama's nominee.

"As I have said before, the Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until a new president is elected," he said in a statement. "This is not about Judge Garland. This is about ensuring the American people have a chance to weigh in through the electoral process before such an impactful decision is made."