Editorials and Opinion
Editorial: Grassley creates stalemate on Supreme Court (Des Moines Register [IA], 04/04/16)
"Americans might need to get used to deadlocks, thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley. ... The U.S. Supreme Court has tied twice since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and likely will see more.... How long should the nation’s highest court be weakened, and in some situations, effectively neutered? For more than a year, according to Grassley and other Republicans.... He calls it a waste of time to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the court, Merrick Garland. Even though few disagree that Garland's resume is superb. Grassley even said so in 1997, when the Senate was considering Garland for an appeals court nomination:... Senator, this seat needs to be filled,... refusing to hold hearings on Garland is pure partisanship — and simple stubbornness.
Grassley won’t give Garland a chance, to even let him in the game.
That’s unsatisfying. And un-American."
TU Editorial Board: The Senate’s dereliction (Albany Times Union [NY], 04/04/16)
"Twice since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court has deadlocked on cases.
Twice, then, America has witnessed the fallout from the U.S. Senate Republican majority’s outrageous determination to put party above Constitution and country....Citizens will effectively be subject to unequal treatment under the law, depending on where they live.
These offenses to the Constitution mount as Mr. McConnell refuses to let the Senate fulfill its role of advice and consent. Some Republicans say the Senate should consider Mr. Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a moderate choice."
Our View: Let's hear from Justice Roberts on Merrick Garland confirmation (Taunton Daily Gazette [MA], 04/03/16)
"The excuses Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans are making for their refusal to let the Senate perform its constitutional responsibility range from tenuous to absurd. ... Bork was given a hearing and a vote in the Senate (he was rejected by a bipartisan, 58-42 vote), a courtesy McConnell refuses to grant President Obama’s nominee....Chief Justice Roberts surely understands the flaws in McConnell’s argument, and seems to be acutely aware of the damage partisan politics can do to the public standing of the Supreme Court.... He should say it again in Washington, and demand the confirmation of Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee, proceed in the dignified manner precedent and the Constitution prescribe."
Editorial: Mark Kirk might be Grassley's undoing (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 04/03/16)
"Sen. Mark Kirk on Tuesday might have lit the fuse that breaches Sen. Chuck Grassley's fortress of obstruction-at-all-cost.... Kirk didn't mince words, either.
"He's been duly nominated by the elected president of the United States to fill a vacancy which we know exists on the court, and we need open-minded, rational, responsible people to keep an open mind to make sure the process works," Kirk said.... Kirk's stand opened a crack, one which may, over time, result in the failure of McConnell's and Grassley's rampart. It's a barrier that can't fall fast enough. The shorthanded Supreme Court is broken.... Slowly but surely, the McConnell/Grassley coalition of "no way" is coming asunder, under the weight of political backlash and basic respect for the rule of law."
EDITORIAL: The Supreme Court and a petulant Senate (World [Coos Bay, OR], 04/02/16)
"[I]t's not clear that the Senate will do its job and allow the judicial replacement process to proceed until after the November presidential election.... various GOP senators have expressed more open, conciliatory positions, be it out of sheer respect for the Constitutional process or because of threats back home from constituents. President Obama’s nominee, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Merrick Garland, is a worthy candidate. He deserves a fair Senatorial vetting and the American people deserve their Constitution be respected."
Editorial: Tie vote shows Senate's folly (Milford Daily News [MA], 04/02/16)
"The expected 4-4 Supreme Court deadlock in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case is a fresh reminder of the folly of Senate Republicans refusing to take up Judge Merrick Garland's nomination for the high court. We need to have a fully staffed court to resolve important legal questions of the day, not have them trapped in limbo because of a stalemate between four justices who are generally liberal and four justices who are generally conservative.... But unless the Senate does its job, such absurdities may become common. This is already a national embarrassment."
EDITORIAL: Law professors press support for hearings (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette [IN] , 04/02/16)
"Fifty-eight Indiana law professors have signed a letter urging U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, to give Merrick Garland a hearing.
As President Barack Obama’s nominee for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, Garland has become the judicial equivalent of the Maytag repairman, with few Republicans willing even to meet with him. Sen. Joe Donnelly has urged his colleagues to do their jobs, evaluating Garland and voting to confirm or reject him to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia."
Editorial: All Supreme Court nominees deserve hearings, votes (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 04/02/16)
"Republicans in the Senate say they will not bring Garland’s nomination to a vote and will not even hold hearings on it.... Strict constructionists and believers in original intent must agree that the process should proceed whenever a vacancy opens. Refusing to give Garland a hearing violates the spirit of the Constitution and disgraces conservatism properly understood.... Blocking Garland without a hearing or a vote implicitly would limit the consequences of Obama’s 2012 re-election to fewer than four years. This is preposterous .... The Republican treatment of Garland is worse than the Democratic treatment of Bork. Bork testified at a hearing; he came up for a vote. "
PD EDITORIAL: One short, the Supreme Court is all tied up (Press Democrat [CA] , 04/02/16)
"As Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman put it in his Bloomberg View column, “The Supreme Court is getting desperate.”
With good reason. The court has been reduced from nine members to eight .... on several pending issues, lower courts have issued conflicting rulings, leaving the country without a settled legal standard. No one benefits from that.
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says Scalia’s seat on the court should be filled by the next president. That would leave the court shorthanded not just for the remainder of this term, which ends in June, but for most — if not all — of its next term, too."
EDITORIAL: Our View: Listen to the people; OurPosition: Grassley still wrong on confirmation hearing (Daily Nonpareil [Council Bluffs, IA], 04/01/16)
"Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley should hold a confirmation hearing on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Yes, this is another Grassley editorial. But this is important and something that should be mentioned whenever possible: Sen. Grassley’s refusal to hold a confirmation is in direct conflict with the will of the people of Iowa and of the people of the United States....The people are speaking now and the people spoke in the 2012 election: the Supreme Court has a vacancy, and a potential replacement has been named.
Let’s give him a fair hearing."
EDITORIAL: Our opinion: GOP should stop its awful obstruction (Bennington Banner [VT], 04/01/16)
"The GOP's refusal to conduct a hearing on a sitting president's nomination is not only unprecedented, it also threatens the checks and balances that have precariously gotten this country where it is today.... Orrin Hatch and his gang of obstructionists don't let facts stand in their way of reaching a conclusion.... if Hatch and his fellow Republicans want to vote against Judge Garland, they have every right to do so. But they should stop being cowards."
EDITORIAL: Our View: Senate must consider Supreme Court nominee (Erie Times-News [PA], 04/01/16)
"The fractured legal landscape taking shape following Scalia's death is destined to continue as long as Senate Republicans, including Pennsylvania's own Sen. Pat Toomey, refuse to do their constitutional duty and consider President Barack Obama's nomination of moderate D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland.... Republicans insist voters must have a say on the nomination. They shall if Senate Republicans fulfill their constitutional obligations. Grill Garland in a hearing, vote him up or down, then face the political consequences. That is how this works.
This is no time to trample the underpinnings of a nation, especially one bruised by eight years of partisan stalemate and now by unseemly primary antics.
Stand down on Garland and stand up for what is right."
Editorial Board Short Takes: Kirk boldly goes where no GOP senator has gone before (and where more should be willing to go) (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 04/01/16)
"Mark Kirk of Illinois became the first Republican senator to meet with Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Kirk called Garland “one of the most eminent jurists in the country.”
Sure, Kirk has a tough re-election fight on his hand in November in a heavily Democratic state, but we’ll take civilized behavior wherever we find it.
Which is not the case with Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who said this week he was “too busy” to meet with Garland. If you must play politics with the Supreme Court, senator, go ahead. But at least be upfront about it."
EDITORIAL: Gridlock at the Supreme Court (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 04/01/16)
"President Obama, in selecting Garland, who long has won praise from both sides of the aisle, has demonstrated respect for his own election in 2012 and the Republican victories two years ago through which the party captured the Senate majority.
That is how the system is supposed to work. ... What Portman and his colleagues propose is that the court go for more than a year with a vacancy.... The result is, the court dealing with its own version of gridlock for much of two terms.... Which highlights the additional disrespect the Republican majority is showing for the work of the court. ... there must be allegiance to something higher. The president has done his part. Now the Senate should do the same."
EDITORIAL: McConnell goes to the extreme (Citizens Voice [Wilkes-Barre, PA], 04/01/16)
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acted as little more than a partisan hack by refusing to allow a fair confirmation process for appellate Judge Merrick Garland.... McConnell has solidified his record as an extreme obstructionist. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and other members of his caucus should convince him to become responsible."
Editorial: Cheers (Pantagraph [Bloomington, IL], 04/01/16)
"Cheers .. to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk for agreeing to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Most Republicans won't meet with, or discuss, Garland's recent nomination by President Obama. Some think Kirk's move was designed as an election-year push against his fall opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth.
Regardless of his reason, Kirk did the right thing in acknowledging Garland's nomination to the nation's highest court."
EDITORIAL: Shooting his credibility (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 04/01/16)
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acted as little more than a partisan hack by refusing to allow a fair confirmation process for appellate Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, Mr. McConnell has shot what remains of his credibility by asserting that he will not allow a confirmation process even after the presidential election in November unless a nominee is favored by two narrow interests — the National Rifle Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.... neither should be endowed by Mr. McConnell with the power to pre-empt a nominee.... McConnell has solidified his record as an extreme obstructionist. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and other members of his caucus should convince him to become responsible."
EDITORIAL: Let the Supreme Court work (Springfield News-Leader [MO], 03/31/16)
"This editorial is the view of the News-Leader Editorial Board" : "the court shouldn’t have to limp on for another year without a tie-breaking justice so Senate Republicans can stick to their partisan pledge not to consider President Obama’s nomination to succeed Scalia. ... Obama met the GOP at least halfway by nominating Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. federal court of appeals. At 63, he wouldn’t stay on the court as long as a justice in his 40s or 50s, and he is so well respected and so moderate that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, all but called for his nomination before Obama picked him."
EDITORIAL: Let the Supreme Court do its job: Our view; Senate Republicans tying up rulings by stalling on 9th justice. (USA Today, 03/31/16)
"A shorthanded Supreme Court showed this week what life will be like for the next year or so if Senate Republicans stick to their vow to stall confirmation of a ninth justice until after the next president is sworn in. The court deadlocked 4-4 .... the court shouldn’t have to limp on for another year without a tie-breaking justice so Senate Republicans can stick to their partisan pledge not to consider President Obama’s nomination to succeed Scalia. Republicans claim this is high-minded principle — let the people speak when they elect a new president in November — but that’s sanctimonious claptrap. This is just hardball politics.... Stalling Garland has costs the senators either don’t realize or don’t care about. They should give him hearings and a vote."
EDITORIAL: Deadlock: Why Senate should act (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 03/31/16)
"The Supreme Court deadlocked Tuesday on a major case .... Tuesday’s ruling underscores why the U.S. Senate should act on President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, so the court can have its full complement of nine justices. Quickly.... the deadlock Tuesday demonstrates how the GOP-controlled Senate, by refusing to convene hearings or a vote on the nominee, is hobbling the court this year.... As the No. 2 leader in the Senate, Cornyn’s refusal to be the adult in the chamber is particularly egregious.... And the argument is particularly untenable in Garland’s case.... The Senate should do its constitutional part and leave politics — and the wish for a Republican in the White House — out of it.
Even if another justice can’t get to the court in time to help decide current cases, the deadlock demonstrates the peril of leaving the seat vacant. Senators, give Garland a vote."
EDITORIAL: The Supreme Court needs a ninth justice immediately (Washington Post, 03/31/16)
"[K]eeping the court understaffed for any significant length of time would be bad for the law, the court and the country.... It is likely that, without a ninth justice, the court will more often deadlock on major cases, in which values are more fundamentally in conflict. Even if we might agree with some of the results, a quarter of a presidential term is a long time to go without a full Supreme Court. Senate Republicans should consider Merrick Garland’s nomination immediately."
EDITORIAL: Gridlock at the Supreme Court (Post and Courier [SC], 03/31/16)
"Tuesday’s 4-4 gridlock on an important First Amendment case.... was also a vivid demonstration of the power of a 5-4 Supreme Court vote to define the nation’s legal framework for better or for worse, and a clear example of the reason the Senate should closely examine the judicial record and philosophy of any nominee .... But by postponing consideration of President Obama’s nominee, federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, the senators are passing up an opportunity to lay before the public just how Judge Garland has approached the law. ... Of course, by holding such hearings the Senate would be under no obligation to confirm Judge Garland if a majority of Senators found his judicial philosophy objectionable. But the Senate performs a service by bringing such issues forward even for the high court nominee of a lame duck president."
Editorial: A year of deadlock looms for court (Corvallis Gazette-Times [OR], 03/31/16)
"President Barack Obama has appointed a moderate, Merrick Garland, to replace Scalia. Republican leaders in the Senate say the appointment is dead in the water .... senators interested in avoiding a year (or more) of deadlock in the Supreme Court have an easy way to do that: Give Garland the confirmation hearing he deserves. And if Republicans lose this presidential election — and their bet on the future of the court — ...they may well lament this missed opportunity to place a more moderate justice on the high court."
EDITORIAL: OUR VIEW: Regardless of reason, a bold step forward (Times [Ottawa, IL], 03/31/16)
"Sen. Mark Kirk .. is the first — and so far only — Republican to meet with Garland since President Obama nominated him .... to his credit, he’s speaking out about Garland. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is the only other Republican Senator to say the full chamber should get to vote on Garland.... Yet it’s clear McConnell and his cohorts think they’re playing a winning hand. It’s also clear they favor partisan politics over actually doing the job they were elected to do.... no matter the reason, [Kirk]stepped boldly forward and Illinoisans should be proud of his effort. Let’s hope he’s not alone."
EDITORIAL: How we see it: US Senate race in Ohio will have sparks flying (Vindicator [Youngstown, OH], 03/31/16)
"In selecting appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the president was sending a clear message to the GOP: I intend to fulfill my constitutional duties until the last day of my term in office. ... Garland won confirmation in 1997 to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with backing from a majority of both parties, including seven current Republican senators.
Garland, 63, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, is a respected moderate jurist and former prosecutor.... one fact is undeniable: Obama won election and re-election by impressive margins, thus being able to claim a mandate from the voters to do his job. ... In arguing that “the American people” this year must have a say, what are the Republicans in the Senate suggesting about the 65-plus million who voted for Obama in his bid for a second four-year term – a full term? ... meetings would be nothing more than political window dressing if the GOP majority continues to say “no.”"
EDITORIAL: The Record: Supreme Court tie votes can't continue (Record [NJ] , 03/31/16)
"Cases should be decided by a majority of justices, not by tie votes that merely uphold earlier decisions.
President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty to nominate a replacement for Scalia: Merrick Garland. But Republican Senate leaders are refusing to hold hearings on the nominee, let alone schedule a vote. Garland deserves a hearing and a vote.... public opinion — which favors hearings — may crumble the Republican stonewall. ... The Supreme Court should function with a full bench, nine justices. And as for the U.S. Senate — it should just function."
EDITORIAL: Trump is the ‘Establishment’ (Storm Lake Times [IA], 03/30/16)
"Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vowed from the day President Obama took office that his caucus’ main goal was to bring Obama down. Today, Sen. Chuck Grassley stands firm with McConnell in denying hearings to Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland just because Obama nominated him."