President Obama nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court this morning. 

Speaking in the Rose Garden, he called on Republicans to hold a hearing and an up-or-down vote, saying it would be "unprecedented" to refuse to do so. 

Obama said he recognizes that the "political season" is in full swing, but the Supreme Court should not be "an extension of our divided politics."

"It's supposed to be above politics. It has to be and it should stay that way," he said. 

He said two-thirds of Americans believe that the Senate should hold a vote on his nominee.

"To suggest that someone who has served his country with honor and dignity, with a distinguished track record of delivering justice for the American people, might be treated - as one Republican leader stated - as a political pinata? That can't be right," said Obama. 

He said he is simply asking Republicans to hold a fair hearing for Garland and an up-or-down vote. 

Obama argued that a failure to move forward would mean that "everything is subject to the most partisan of politics."

The president said he took the process seriously and is putting forward "a serious man and an exemplary judge."

Watch his remarks above.