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Editorials and Opinion

 

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The Congress: America's failure [Editorial] (Intelligencer [Doylestown, PA], 10/03/16)
"Congress is a dysfunctional mess. ... As far as doing the people's business, well, a kind assessment is that Congress is a hit-and-miss outfit, with far more of the latter than the former.... Among the issues coming and/or returning in 2017: the budget, the debt ceiling, a failing health care system under the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court vacancy or vacancies, ... and on and on. At a time when the art of compromise is so desperately needed in the nation's capital, there's little reason to believe we'll be witness to anything other than greater partisanship and dissension. Congress gets another failing grade for 2016. It's another failure that hurts America."

Our Opinion: A do-later Congress (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 10/03/16)
"There’s still that Supreme Court vacancy. Republican senators are responsible for that. More than six months after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the Senate has still refused to consider him. No one in modern history has waited longer for a hearing. Republicans decided to deny President Barack Obama the chance to fill the seat opened by the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia. Also stalled was the nomination in April of former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson to serve on the federal district court for eastern North Carolina."

EDITORIAL: A Crippled Supreme Court’s New Term (New York Times, 10/03/16)
"[T]he Supreme Court, which begins a new term on Monday, remains without a ninth justice nearly seven months after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. That seat is likely to stay empty until well into 2017, and depending on which party wins the White House and controls the Senate, possibly long beyond that. This is entirely contrary to the workings of a constitutional government, and it is inflicting damage on the court and the country. But the Senate Republicans care nothing about that as they continue their unprecedented stonewalling of Judge Garland’s nomination in the hopes of preserving the court’s conservative majority. Meanwhile, the eight justices have split evenly in several major cases, which puts off any final judgment on lawsuits that affect millions of Americans."

A hobbled Supreme Court gets sort of back to work (Editorial) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 10/03/16)
"And though not anyone in official Washington has even implied that Garland is anything less than an exemplary jurist, the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to schedule hearings on his nomination. Why? Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dug in his heels from the first, arguing that Scalia's seat should be filled by the next president. This he maintained even though Scalia died fully 11 months before the next president would be sworn into office. Where is it written that the highest court should operate – or not operate – one member short if one of the justices dies during a president's final year in office? Nowhere, of course.... Those who'd argue that Kentuckian McConnell and his Senate compatriots are doing the right thing don't have a constitutional leg to stand on."

Congress: America's failure [Editorial] (Bucks County Courier Times [PA], 10/03/16)
"Congress is a dysfunctional mess. ... As far as doing the people's business, well, a kind assessment is that Congress is a hit-and-miss outfit, with far more of the latter than the former.... Among the issues coming and/or returning in 2017: the budget, the debt ceiling, a failing health care system under the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court vacancy or vacancies, ... and on and on. At a time when the art of compromise is so desperately needed in the nation's capital, there's little reason to believe we'll be witness to anything other than greater partisanship and dissension. Congress gets another failing grade for 2016. It's another failure that hurts America."

Supreme Court starts term in holding pattern [Editorial] (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 10/02/16)
"Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge generally regarded as the most centrist on the White House short list. ... The stonewalling Senate Republicans have done the court and the nation a disservice by forcing the vacancy to persist. Garland’s nomination already has surpassed the record of 125 days between the appointment and confirmation of Louis Brandeis in 1916."

Senate leaves bench in need [Editorial] (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 09/30/16)
THE EDITORIAL BOARD: "The focus of Senate Republicans’ dereliction of constitutional duty has been on their refusal to engage in the confirmation process for highly qualified Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. But during this two-year congressional session, confirmations at all levels of the federal judiciary have slowed to a trickle, resulting in a growing number of judicial vacancies and an expanding backlog of cases that reduce access to the courts and justice.... Four nominees await confirmation to U.S. district courts in Pennsylvania. Judges Susan Baxter and Marilyn Horan have been nominated to the bench in the Western District of Pennsylvania and cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to schedule a final vote. Judge John Younge, nominated to a seat in the Eastern District, and Judge Robert Colville, nominated to the Western District, have not received hearings. The Judiciary Committee also has not scheduled a hearing for Rebecca Haywood, who was nominated in March to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, where she would be the first black woman to serve if confirmed. Sen. Pat Toomey has not submitted a "blue slip" that is required to start that process."

McConnell should schedule confirmation votes for federal judges [Editorial] (Citizens Voice [Wilkes-Barre, PA], 09/30/16)
THE EDITORIAL BOARD: "The focus of Senate Republicans’ dereliction of constitutional duty has been on their refusal to engage in the confirmation process for highly qualified Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. But during this two-year congressional session, confirmations at all levels of the federal judiciary have slowed to a trickle, resulting in a growing number of judicial vacancies and an expanding backlog of cases that reduce access to the courts and justice. The Senate confirmed just 11 federal district judges in 2015, a 50-year low for a single year. Over the course of the two-year session to date, the Senate has confirmed just 22 judges. During the last two years of the George W. Bush administration, the Senate Democratic majority moved 68 of Bush’s nominees to confirmation.... Four nominees await confirmation to U.S. district courts in Pennsylvania. ... Rebecca Haywood, ... was nominated in March to the Third Circuit of Appeals, where she would be the first black woman to serve if confirmed."

Editorial: 'New page' as do-nothing as old page in Congress (Journal Star [Peoria, IL], 09/28/16)
"Not only can't the Senate deal with the president's nominee to fill one of the longest vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court in the modern era, it's confirming other federal judges at the slowest pace since Joe McCarthy was drinking excessively and seeing communists around every corner."

Perfect storm on climate [Editorial] (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 09/28/16)
THE EDITORIAL BOARD: "since Senate Republicans have refused to carry out their own constitutional duty by declining to conduct a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, the D.C. appellate decision could be definitive because the Supreme Court might deadlock, 4-4, on a further appeal."

MERRICK GARLAND: 618 EDITORIALS BY EDITORIAL BOARDS IN 49 STATES & DC URGE SENATE TO HOLD A HEARING AND VOTE ON NOMINEE TO FILL SUPREME COURT VACANCY – STATE BY STATE LINKS/EXCERPTS (as of September 21, 2016) (, 09/21/16)
These 618 Editorials by 297 newspaper editorial boards in 49 states and DC represent well over 90 percent of the newspaper editorial board opinions revealed by comprehensive online research. Click on State names on first page for Editorial Board links/excerpts for each State.

Gazette opinion: What Congress leaves behind [Editorial] (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 09/18/16)
"In a Senate floor speech last week Tester summarized the unproductive Congress and noted that the Senate has been in session in 2016 the fewest days in 60 years.... Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Tester chided the Republican leadership for refusing to even have a hearing on the nomination of Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland. “Now the Supreme Court is as dysfunctional as Congress,” Tester said. The court has been unable to resolve some cases without a tie-breaking ninth justice.... The obvious solution is to keep the House and Senate in session till they complete their work."

Bring on the judges [BY WJW EDITORIAL BOARD] (Washington Jewish Week [DC], 09/14/16)
"The Republican-led Senate, which had been dragging its feet in considering Obama’s federal court nominees, announced earlier this year that it will not act on any more appointments until the president’s term ends in January. That effectively put Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination as Supreme Court justice in deep freeze and does the same for every other judicial nominee. That makes no sense. There are 96 vacancies in the federal judiciary and 58 nominations pending. It is the Senate’s job to act on those nominations and not to use its constitutional role for political purposes. Each of the nominees deserves a hearing. The Senate should fulfill its mandate to advise and consent."

Bring on the Judges [Editorial] (Jewish Exponent [PA], 09/14/16)
"The Republican-led Senate, which had been dragging its feet in considering Obama’s federal court nominees, announced earlier this year that it will not act on any more appointments until the president’s term ends in January. That effectively put Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination as Supreme Court justice in deep freeze and does the same for every other judicial nominee. That makes no sense. There are 96 vacancies in the federal judiciary and 58 nominations pending. It is the Senate’s job to act on those nominations and not to use its constitutional role for political purposes. Each of the nominees deserves a hearing. The Senate should fulfill its mandate to advise and consent."

Grassley tries to defend his obstruction [Editorial] (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 09/13/16)
"Again, Sen. Charles Grassley made the bogus claim he’s been making since Justice Antonin Scalia died last February — the American people should get to pick Scalia’s replacement.... The president picks justices to the court. And the president did, when he nominated Merrick Garland.... Grassley, with a straight face, has said repeatedly he wouldn’t play politics on this while at the same time he’s playing politics with this by declaring he won’t hold a hearing on Garland’s fitness for the job. He’s doing the bidding for his boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will do whatever it takes to block any initiative of President Barack Obama.... We’ve reported on Grassley’s meetings — including the one with his hand-picked constituents at Great River Medial Center — and his declaration of overwhelming support for his obstruction on this important matter didn’t surface at that meeting.... It matters not how he tries to spin it, Grassley has failed in his responsibility as chairman of the judiciary committee to hold a hearing on Garland’s nomination. The court has suffered because of that. The nation deserves a nine-member court."

Legacy: blind obstruction [Editorial] (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 09/09/16)
"The Senate Republican leadership’s legacy, as the congressional session winds down, is already clear. It is one of blind obstruction rather than achievement, as emphasized Thursday by Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland’s visit to Capitol Hill. Garland is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely regarded as the nation’s second most important appellate court, behind only the Supreme Court itself. He ascended to that position after being confirmed in 1997. The 23 Republican senators who voted against him at that time did not question his qualifications; they did not want to fill the seat to reduce the size of the court. Though a centrist and highly qualified, Garland is the nominee to wait the longest for a confirmation hearing in U.S. history.... The ongoing stone-walling of the Garland nomination is an absurd dereliction of the duty to govern."

Editorial: Stone-walling of Garland nomination dereliction of duty (Citizens Voice [Wilkes-Barre, PA], 09/09/16)
"The Senate Republican leadership’s legacy, as the congressional session winds down, is already clear. It is one of blind obstruction rather than achievement, as emphasized Thursday by Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland’s visit to Capitol Hill. Garland is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely regarded as the nation’s second most important appellate court, behind only the Supreme Court itself. He ascended to that position after being confirmed in 1997. The 23 Republican senators who voted against him at that time did not question his qualifications; they did not want to fill the seat to reduce the size of the court. Though a centrist and highly qualified, Garland is the nominee to wait the longest for a confirmation hearing in U.S. history.... The ongoing stone-walling of the Garland nomination is an absurd dereliction of the duty to govern."

IN OUR VIEW; Editorial: Little time and a lot to get done for Congress (Herald [WA] , 09/06/16)
"Supreme Court: The refusal of Republicans to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February, will again leave the court with a 4-4 ideological split as it begins hearing cases in October. Waiting to seat a justice in the hopes of avoiding a Democratic president’s nominee ignores history and simple fairness. Six other justices have been confirmed in presidential election years, and every other nominee who wasn’t withdrawn from consideration received a vote within 125 days of nomination; Garland has been waiting 174 days."

EDITORIAL: Supreme Court nominee needlessly remains a political football (Anniston Star [AL] , 09/06/16)
"The really unique do-nothing feature of this Congress is the issue of a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died in mid-February. President Barack Obama nominated a replacement about a month later. And there the nomination has sat, lonely and neglected in the halls of the Senate. The Republican-controlled Senate has set a record in regards to not considering a Supreme Court nominee. After more than 170 days and counting, Senate Republicans are still refusing to schedule a hearing to consider Garland’s nomination. That is a record. Congrats on your foot-dragging, Republican senators.... Obama entered the White House with Republicans vowing to go to exceptional lengths to thwart his administration, and they are still living down to that promise."

[EDITORIAL] Our View: Grassley gives Garland glimmer of hope; Our Position: Senator’s political remarks indicate nominee has shot at hearing he deserves (Daily Nonpareil [Council Bluffs, IA], 09/02/16)
"Our Position: Senator’s political remarks indicate nominee has shot at hearing he deserves.... We’re encouraged to hear there’s a chance Garland could the hearing to which he’s entitled by Obama’s nomination. But the grounds – Hillary Clinton would nominate a more liberal justice, so the GOP-controlled Congress could fast-track his approval – on which Grassley made those comments make us shake our heads. In essence, the highest court in the land is being used as a pawn in a deplorable, high-stakes game of partisan chess.... Unfortunately, Garland has yet to be afforded a hearing – despite the sudden glimmer of hope that he may get one. While we’d like to see that happen, even if in the lame-duck session, it shows that partisan-induced gridlock knows no bounds."

The empty seat [Editorial] (Baltimore Sun, 09/01/16)
"Wednesday marked the 200th day since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and right on cue, the nation's top jurists handed down a decision to reflect the absurdity of holding up his replacement. ... To make a more definitive ruling, the U.S. Senate would need to confirm a ninth member of the Supreme Court, and that's where Merrick Garland comes in. ... The freeze-out of Judge Garland has been nothing short of disgraceful, not to mention extremely short-sighted given his reputation for moderation and non-partisanship."

In defense of inaction [EDITORIAL] (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 08/14/16)
"Republican Senator Chuck Grassley used his radio address Saturday to try to convince Iowans he’s getting the job done for us. ...Missing from his address was any reference to that nagging issue of his obstruction to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court, the eminently qualified Merrick Garland.... Despite the fact that it’s the president’s job to nominate replacements to the court — his term doesn’t end until next January — Grassley declared days after Antonin Scalia’s death in February that on this, the president’s term in office already had ended. ...A lot of Iowans take issue with his obstruction and want him to do his job. And he said the Republican-led senate “hasn’t wasted time or resources” on partisan fights. But, common sense Iowans are smarter than that. Of course they’ve wasted our resources on partisan fights, especially when it comes to the vacancy on the court. ... he does get a thorn for his dereliction of duty on the Garland matter. Filling a vacancy on the court should be the committee chairman’s highest priority. It should take precedence over sentencing reform. But, despite his claims to the contrary, he is playing partisan politics so, no, he’s not getting the job done for Iowans, or the nation on the matter that should be the top of his agenda. It’s not action, it’s inaction. A 9-member court is essential for the nation. That’s just common sense."

MERRICK GARLAND: 607 EDITORIALS BY EDITORIAL BOARDS IN 49 STATES & DC URGE SENATE TO HOLD A HEARING AND VOTE ON NOMINEE TO FILL SUPREME COURT VACANCY – STATE BY STATE LINKS/EXCERPTS (as of August 12, 2016) (, 08/12/16)
These 607 Editorials by 296 newspaper editorial boards in 49 states and DC represent well over 90 percent of the newspaper editorial board opinions revealed by comprehensive online research. Click on State names on first page for Editorial Board links/excerpts for each State.

Editorial: Grab chance to confirm Garland (Detroit News [MI], 08/10/16)
"[T]he GOP-controlled Senate should move on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland now .... the country will not tolerate a strategy of blocking every nominee a Democratic president offers. They should take Garland and consider themselves lucky. ... Garland is a well-respected federal appeals court judge with undeniable legal credentials and a reputation as a moderate. He is a former prosecutor known for his meticulous legal reasoning. Described as being most similar in his approach to the law to Chief Justice John Roberts, his votes on the court could be independent-minded and critically important — for both sides.... Republican Senate leaders have blocked Garland’s nomination from even receiving a hearing .... They shouldn’t compound their mistake by turning down a Supreme Court appointee who is as close to moderate as they’re likely to see for a long, long time."

EDITORIAL: Act now on Zika outbreak (Randolph Leader [AL], 08/10/16)
"Knee-jerk opposition by Congressional Republicans to anything President Obama proposes already has given us a U.S. Supreme Court stalemate, with the lawmakers refusing to even hold a hearing on the suitability of Merrick Garland, the president’s nominee to fill a vacant seat."

Editorial End the outrageous delay on Garland’s nomination (Los Angeles Times, 08/09/16)
"Because of obstructionism by Senate Republicans, however, the Senate is no closer to holding a hearing on Garland’s nomination, much less voting on it. Meanwhile, the court has divided 4 to 4 in some cases, preventing a definitive resolution of important issues ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he wouldn’t act on a new nomination by invoking — or, rather, inventing — the principle that a Supreme Court vacancy that occurs in a presidential election year can’t be filled “until we have a new president.” ... This is shameless partisanship, and it could also be self-defeating. As Obama has warned, continued obstructionism on the Garland nomination could lead to “an endless cycle of more tit for tat [that would] make it increasingly impossible for any president, Democrat or Republican, to carry out their constitutional function.” That’s a message the president and Senate Democrats need to revive .... Sen. Tim Kaine replied “absolutely” when he was asked whether the Garland nomination should be taken up in the lame-duck session. If the Senate takes its responsibility to the Constitution seriously, it will act even sooner than that."

EDITORIAL: Act now on Supreme Court vacancy: Our view (USA Today, 08/08/16)
"But flat-out ignoring a vacancy on the nation's highest court, which Senate Republicans have vowed to do while President Obama remains in office, is an abrogation of its constitutional duty. Until last month, Garland's wait was merely the longest in a century, since Louis Brandeis waited 125 days to be confirmed in 1916. Now it is unprecedented.... So what's the problem? Not Garland. He has been lauded by every group that has reviewed his qualifications. Even prominent Republicans, such as former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor and former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales, have said the time to act was yesterday. Yet from day one, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that Republicans simply could not let Obama replace Scalia. ... The Senate should return in September, put politics aside and give Judge Garland a hearing and a vote. It's the best thing for the court, the country and the Constitution."

Senate plays waiting game with high court nominee Merrick Garland (Editorial) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 08/08/16)
"It's now been nearly five months since President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of longtime Justice Antonin Scalia. ... And, given what Senate Republicans have said, there's no reason to believe that they'll act on Garland's nomination once Congress is back in session after Labor Day. The reason? That's not an easy question to answer, at least not rationally.... Garland, while doubtless more liberal than they'd like, is a highly respected judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He's widely seen as a mostly moderate consensus builder. ... Pushing Garland through after the election would be better than nothing, but the whole thing stinks. And sets a truly lousy precedent."

MERRICK GARLAND: 602 EDITORIALS BY EDITORIAL BOARDS IN 49 STATES & DC URGE SENATE TO HOLD A HEARING AND VOTE ON NOMINEE TO FILL SUPREME COURT VACANCY – STATE BY STATE LINKS/EXCERPTS (as of July 25, 2016) (, 07/25/16)
These 602 Editorials by 295 newspaper editorial boards in 49 states and DC represent well over 90 percent of the newspaper editorial board opinions revealed by comprehensive online research. Click on State names on first page for Editorial Board links/excerpts for each State.

EDITORIAL: Sad record (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 07/24/16)
"Judge Merrick Garland became the Supreme Court nominee to wait the longest time without a Senate confirmation hearing.... A century ago, the reasons for the Brandeis delay were obvious. He was the first Jewish nominee for the Supreme Court and the country was infected with a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. ... Today’s Republican obstructionists in the Senate are just as shameful .... The script they read from holds that there should be no hearing because Mr. Obama is in the last year of his last term and “voters should have a say.” That is preposterous. Voters expressed their view in electing Mr. Obama twice.... The Senate Republican majority’s refusal to engage in that process is a hypocritical and historic dereliction of constitutional duty of which they should be ashamed"