Watch CBSN Live

GOP senator: "Tough optics" in blocking Supreme Court nominee

Flake is among a handful of Republicans who have agreed to meet Merrick Garland
Flake is among a handful of Republicans who h... 04:22

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary committee, said Thursday that the recent GOP pledges to stall the confirmation of President Obama's Supreme Court pick present "tough optics" for the party.

"Certainly we are justified in waiting," Flake said in a "CBS This Morning" interview. "But there are -- these are tough optics, I will admit, but it's a risk that you take, and this is an important seat, and we want to make sure that we maintain the balance on the court."

Unlike many of his GOP colleagues in the Senate, Flake has promised to meet with U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland, the president's pick to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the high court. Flake has even said he would consider voting for the judge in a lame duck session after the 2016 election.

Elizabeth Warren on battle over Supreme Court... 04:51

"There is a concern that since this is a Scalia seat, that if President Obama or somebody else were to name a justice that was decidedly liberal, it would upset the balance of the court," Flake said. "So I think the Republicans are certainly justified in saying we want to wait until a new president can make this nomination."

Of Garland specifically, the Arizona senator said that he has heard "nothing but good about him."

"I don't think anything has changed with regard to Merrick Garland," Flake said. "Like I said, I plan to meet with, him but that's a decision that I make on my own."

Flake, who previously endorsed Republican colleague Marco Rubio in his party's presidential primary, also commented on the state of the White House race, saying he would consider endorsing a different candidate now that Rubio has suspended his campaign.

"I'll probably wait a couple of weeks and see," Flake said. "I'm still hopeful that we can get a nominee that we can be proud of and that can take us through the election."

Asked if he would endorse the bombastic Donald Trump for the nomination, Flake responded: "That's a tough one there. Let me tell you I don't want to say anything now, but I would find it very difficult given the statements that he's made. I believe that we need to win the White House, and we've gotta have somebody that can do it, and I'm not certain he can."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.