Editorials and Opinion
EDITORIAL: Eight is enough, says Grassley (Berkshire Eagle [MA] , 04/11/16)
"The latest Republican rationalization for refusing to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee is that the Court doesn't need nine justices.
And maybe baseball doesn't need nine players in the field.
Responding to a Des Moines Register editorial describing the GOP's refusal to hold hearings for Judge Merrick Garland as "un-American," Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, noted in an oped piece in the paper that the US Supreme Court has had fewer than nine justices in the past.... Congress ended the nonsense in 1869 .... vacancies have been routinely filled since then."
Republicans Finally Confirmed A Judge. Is This Obama’s Last One? Even some GOP senators are hoping for more votes. (Huffington Post, 04/11/16)
Jennifer Bendery: "It’s been two months since Republicans confirmed a judge. If anybody should have been confirmed by now, it’s Crenshaw. Nobody opposed him — he was confirmed 92 to 0. Both of his GOP senators strongly supported him. The court seat he’s filling has become so overloaded with cases that it’s become a judicial emergency. Yet Crenshaw, who unanimously cleared the Judiciary Committee nine months ago, had to wait almost a year and a half for a vote. ... there are 31 other judicial nominees waiting for action in the Judiciary Committee and 14 more ready to be confirmed right now. None are scheduled for votes. Republicans are already confirming judges at the slowest pace in more than 50 years ... There are GOP senators with courts in their states that desperately need vacancies filled,"
Editorial: Highest court at least works (Kokomo Tribune [IN] , 04/10/16)
"President Obama did his constitutional duty and nominated Scalia’s replacement, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In response, the Republican-controlled Senate made good on its promise not to consider any of Obama’s choices to fill the vacancy, no matter whom they might be. This calcified stance ensured Obama’s final year in office would remain fractious right to the end, leaving the possibility of a broken judicial branch until at least next January when the next president is sworn in.
With all this gridlock and obstructionism, we can at least take solace in the Supreme Court’s 8-to-0 decision Monday in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott."
EDITORIAL: Grassley v. Roberts (Baltimore Sun, 04/10/16)
"The reason justices are given a lifetime appointment to the bench is not to follow the guidance of a Charles Grassley but to make choices unfettered by politics.
Shame on Senator Grassley for suggesting that Justice Roberts has somehow betrayed the institution when it is the judiciary chairman who seems to be bent on rewriting the Constitution — not only to limit President Barack Obama's authority to fill a court vacancy but now to imply that the chief justice has somehow sabotaged the court."
House editorial: An example of class and bi-partisanship (Post Register [ID], 04/09/16)
"Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch last week enjoyed what Crapo called in a news release, a “productive consultation process between the Idaho Senate delegation, the President and his team” on the nomination of David C. Nye of Pocatello to serve in the U.S. federal court for the District of Idaho.... Nye appears to be an excellent candidate ... Still, it’s difficult to overlook the charade of Risch and Crapo working merrily alongside President Barack Obama when both have made statements claiming they won’t support a hearing, meet with or consider a lame-duck action for Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.... If the president and his team were tit-for-tat politicians, Idaho could have remained in what federal courts had deemed “a judicial emergency” through 2016.... Reading the Idaho senators’ gleeful statements about their success and cooperation with the president is like watching a toddler stop a tantrum just long enough to calmly accept some candy. The question is, are they willing to soften their opposition to an equally qualified candidate now that they have what they want?"
EDITORIAL: OUR VIEW: 1 politician shows some good sense (Journal Gazette/Times-Courier [IL], 04/09/16)
"[I]t is refreshing to see Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois buck his party’s leadership over delaying hearings on President Barack Obama’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court.... Predictably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said there will be no hearings on Obama’s nomination anytime this year.... We believe the people expect elected officials to perform their duties in Washington and in Springfield.
As Kirk has said: “I’m showing what a rational, responsible guy would do that really wants the constitutional process to go forward.”
It shouldn’t be asking too much to expect office holders to be rational and responsible."
EDITORIAL: For a moment, Moran acted like the statesman he once was (Hutchinson News [KS], 04/08/16)
"Sen. Jerry Moran recently sounded like the pragmatic, independent Kansan who won years of support and admiration from voters and fellow lawmakers in Washington, D.C., when he said that the Senate should hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland.... Then, with just a little pressure applied from the most conservative factions of the Republican party, Moran changed course and sounded more like the man we’ve come to know in recent years – a politician who has abandoned sense, statesmanship and dignity and replaced it with pandering, fear and political hyperbole.... The Jerry Moran who said it was more important for him to do his job by holding hearings for a Supreme Court nominee than to shirk his duty is the Jerry Moran this state had come to respect and trust during his years in public service."
It’s Not Just The Supreme Court. Republicans Are Screwing Lots Of Other Courts Too. GOP senators are barely confirming judicial nominees — even their own. (Huffington Post, 04/08/16)
Jennifer Bendery: "It’s worth noting there are 46 other Merrick Garlands. That is, 46 other judicial nominees are in the same boat. They’re not in line for the Supreme Court, but like Garland, they’re nominees to federal courts who aren’t getting votes (except one, who just got scheduled for a Monday vote). ... Not only are they screwing the judicial branch of government by dragging out confirmations — when vacancies pile up on district and circuit courts, people’s cases can get delayed for years and judges burn out — but they’re screwing themselves. Some GOP senators really need judicial nominees confirmed, but are being denied by their own party leaders."
EDITORIAL: Heller stalls (Reno News & Review [NV], 04/07/16)
"His own party’s leaders went on strike when it came to doing their duty in processing the new U.S. Supreme court nomination of Merrick Garland.
This is the same Merrick Garland who was approved by most Senate Republicans to become a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in 1997.
Heller claims he supports the process: “I’ve been clear that I believe the American people deserve the opportunity to have their voice heard in selecting the next Supreme Court justice. When the people make that choice, I’m ready to proceed.”
Well, the public chose the president twice, and he has now nominated a justice. When is Heller going to re-introduce his bill to include supreme court nominations among duties senators must perform to get paid? He says he believes the process should go forward, and he now has the chance to embarrass his own party’s leaders into doing their jobs."
Senate ignoring the people's voice (Iowa City Press-Citizen, 04/07/16)
Op-Ed by Nicholas Johnson: "The Republican Senate leadership’s response to Judge Garland is wrong, both constitutionally and in their "people's voice" rationale. It also further erodes public confidence in our unique and precious judicial institutions."
EDITORIAL: Raw Republican politics threaten legitimacy of Supreme Court (Chicago Sun Times, 04/07/16)
"Sadly, Senate Republicans seem to be perfectly willing to let the erosion go on. Most of them again this week — Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois being one of the rare exceptions — have refused to even chat up the nominee in their Capitol Hill offices. They are worried more about not offending their most rigid right-wing supporters than about doing their constitutional duty.
With every new day this goes on, the Orwellian double-talk and intellectual dishonesty grow more offensive.
In times past, as Obama said, presidents nominated candidates to the Supreme Court and Congress considered those nominees in short order, usually wrapping up the process in about three months.... But the confirmation process has become more politicized at every level of the federal judiciary. ... And now a candidate as over-qualified as Garland can’t even get a hearing.... Do your job, senators, so that the Supreme Court can do its job."
EDITORIAL: Sen. Grassley needs a mirror (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 04/07/16)
"Now it’s United States Supreme Court Chief Justice who has gone political as it relates to Republican obstruction on filling the vacancy on the court created by the death in February of Antonin Scalia, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley.... You’ve got to hand Grassley his due for his chutzpah. He’s the man doing the most to turn the Supreme Court vacancy into a political circus, but has the nerve to heap criticism on the judge — more than two months after Roberts spoke .... What Grassley is really saying is it’s a Democrat president’s nominee.... Grassley, in claiming he isn’t politicizing the vacancy when he is doing exactly that, said we should wait until after the election.... Grassley can’t point to a single poll supporting the position he was apparently told to take by the majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell. Americans, by large majority, want there to be hearings. The American people have spoken, Mr. Grassley. It’s you not listening. It’s you politicizing while, at the same time, you have the temerity to claim it’s everyone else.
Look in the mirror, senator."
EDITORIAL: Serious backlog of cases should prompt quick Senate action on judicial nominee (Buffalo News [NY], 04/06/16)
"The Senate should act swiftly to confirm Kathleen M. Sweet as U.S. District Court judge, following the president’s recent nomination.
Besides making her the first female federal judge based in Buffalo, Sweet’s confirmation would put an end to the long and arduous task of filling this key judicial vacancy.... U.S. District Court vacancies have been a major issue for the past few years. All three of Buffalo’s district judges, William M. Skretny, Richard J. Arcara and John T. Curtin, are senior judges who could have retired. ... It seems likely that election-year politics will delay consideration of Sweet’s nomination, but such delay will have serious consequences for the delivery of justice.
The federal caseload here is enormous, with a backlog of civil and criminal cases that makes this area among the worst in the nation. It takes, on average, more than five years for civil cases to come to trial in Buffalo.... The federal bench in Buffalo is in dire need of help. The Senate needs to move diligently on this nomination."
EDITORIAL: The Record: Politics and courts (Record [NJ] , 04/06/16)
"U.S. Senate Republicans are refusing to give the president's nominee to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland — a moderate, well-respected jurist by any measure — a hearing. They say they want the next president to fill that spot. ... There will always be a political aspect to the selection of the judiciary, but politics should not prevent qualified jurists from serving in our courts or influence their decisions once they are on the bench. That is true from the municipal level all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court."
World-Herald editorial: FURTHERMORE (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 04/06/16)
"Not holding a hearing on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court isn’t the only thing Congress isn’t doing. ... One answer might be in a resolution introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who wants to officially recognize magic as a “rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” Ending the gridlock would, indeed, be wizardry."
EDITORIAL: Don't Let GOP Antics Downplay Importance of Supreme Court Justice Nominee (Washington Informer, 04/06/16)
"Seventeen national organizations, led by MoveOn, have pressed for the Senate to do their job and give Garland a fair hearing, fulfilling their job as senators while remembering the oath of service they took upon their election to office. ... We urge our readers to contact their senators and voice their opinion."
Letter: A president's duty (Ledger [Lakeland, FL], 04/06/16)
Pastor Don Utzman (Ret.): "Cal Thomas['] ... recent column praising Sen. Mitch McConnell for refusing to bring President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland before the Senate for consideration takes the cake .... It is simply another example of obstructionism by McConnell since he became Senate majority leader. On scores of occasions, he has refused to allow the Senate to consider Obama's nominations of federal judges, to the detriment of our judicial system.
His present argument to "let the people decide" flies in the face of the Constitution, .... The logic of McConnell is ludicrous. If a president is not allowed to function in his last year of office, neither should any senator."
EDITORIAL: Party politics destroying three-tiered system (Arizona Range News, 04/06/16)
"In 2012 Republicans were confident that Obama would be defeated and the majority in the Senate would be theirs. But that didn’t happen. Senate Republicans retaliated by refusing to allow presidential nominees a vote, especially federal judges. ... Even as more judicial emergencies arose, they have refused to move nominees through the confirmation process. It should have been no surprise that when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away they would refuse to consider any nominee the president nominated. ... This was obviously a move based on politics and not governing."
Sharp letter: Appoint judges (Idaho Statesman, 04/05/16)
Sue Sharp: "Our government is made up of three branches: the legislative, executive and judicial. Each of these has specific jobs to do. In the case of federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, the Constitution states that the president will name the judge with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate is currently holding the executive branch hostage by refusing to even consider the many judicial appointments that have been made in the last three years.
There are over 100 vacancies in the federal court system. The refusals are a political move and not in the best interests of the federal courts of the United States. We need judges appointed now."
Clarence Thomas got a vote; Merrick Garland should get one too (Boston Globe, 04/05/16)
George J. Mitchell, former US Senate majority leader: "CONTROVERSY OVER Supreme Court nominees is nothing new. What we are seeing from Senate Republicans today, however, is what Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe correctly describes as an “unprecedented” and “shameful abdication of their constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on filling this Supreme Court vacancy.” Never in recent memory has the Senate majority attempted to object not only to a particular nominee, but also to the president’s constitutional responsibility to fill a vacancy on the high court."
EDITORIAL: Deadlock on key case demonstrates why Supreme Court seat needs to be filled (Buffalo News [NY], 04/05/16)
"The recent 4-4 deadlock on the Supreme Court, resulting in a temporary victory for organized labor, is an illustration of why it is in the interest of the nation to fill the vacancy on the court. The sooner the better.... The president has nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland to fill the vacancy. While he appears to have the credentials for the Supreme Court, it is up to the Senate to consider his fitness for the post by holding hearings and eventually a vote. However, Senate Republicans refuse to even take up the nomination. ... it’s constitutionally flawed and will hamper the court’s ability to carry out its job. ... subjecting the nation to the possibility of a year of 4-4 votes on key issues.
Senate Republicans need to do their job and consider Garland’s nomination."
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."
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."
Editorial: A divided Supreme Court votes 8-0 (Anniston Star [AL] , 04/04/16)
"Presidential politics usually brings out the worst in some people .... Even the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is bogged down deep in election-year politics. The president has nominated a replacement and Republican leaders in the Senate have reacted by promising to do nothing. No meetings. No hearings. No vote on Merrick Garland, the judge President Barack Obama named as Scalia’s replacement.
Senate Republicans are content to let one seat on the highest court in the United States sit empty for at least a full 12 months."
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."