Editorials and Opinion
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: 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: 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. "
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."
Republicans make us wait (Tennessean, 04/01/16)
Candace Wade, Letter to the Editor: "How long must I wait? The Republican state and federal politicians want us to wait. Wait a year to fill the Supreme Court seat. Around 55 judicial vacancies await confirmation. This is the slowest confirmation rate in half a century."
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."
Federal Courts Corner: When Will The Court Make A Decision About My Motion? (Garden State Gavel: A New Jersey Litigation Blog, 04/01/16)
CORINNE L. MCCANN: "In a perfect world, clients could generally expect a decision about their pending motion within six months of its filing date. But our world is not perfect. The District of New Jersey faces a judicial emergency, which has made it increasingly difficult for the Court to promptly address litigants’ motions. Under the present conditions, litigants cannot rely on the “six month” rule of thumb with any certainty.
Clients’ concerns are grave because their unresolved motions and protracted litigation negatively affect their wallets.... consider explaining that Congress has yet to confirm nominations for new judges for the District, making it increasingly difficult for the Court to timely handle its pending disputes.... Clients that better understand how the political battles over the judicial nomination and confirmation process directly affect them and their wallets may find it prudent to pressure their Senators to address the pending judicial nominations and to schedule a vote."
Texas Has a Missing Judge Problem (Dallas Observer [TX], 04/01/16)
Stephen Young: "Texas has 11 vacant seats on its various federal benches, the most in any state. Nine of those vacancies are classified as emergencies out of 32 emergencies nationwide by the U.S. Department of Justice. As of Thursday morning, the total length of time those seats have gone unfilled amounts to 20 years. Caseloads in the state are so high that, according to the Judicial Conference of the United States, even if each of the 11 vacancies was filled the state would still need an additional nine judges on Texas' district and circuit courts in order to keep workloads at a manageable level.... The Texas vacancies exist because of the way that Cornyn and Cruz have handled judicial nominations in their state. Traditionally, senators begin the vetting process for district court seats when a judge announces his or her intention to retire. Cornyn and Cruz have not done that. Instead, they've begun looking at candidates after retiring judges are already gone ... Cornyn signaled that, although he may be as intransigent as ever toward Garland, he is working with the Obama administration to try to clear part of the Texas backlog, working to confirm judges for the five spots on Texas courts for which Obama has named a nominee."
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: 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: 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: 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."
Letter: Hatch can’t escape his earlier praise of Garland (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 03/31/16)
Michael Jablonski: "Sen. Orrin Hatch, refusing to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, is more loyal to the GOP than he is to his constituents, ... how can he explain saying, "In all honesty, I would like to see one person come to this floor and say one reason why Merrick Garland does not deserve this position," when Garland first came before the Senate 19 years ago as a nominee to the federal bench."
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: 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."
Opinion: Do-nothings in Senate should do their jobs (Gleaner (Henderson, KY), 03/31/16)
G. Herbert Pritchett: "I love Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans. They have given me a totally new understanding of government — elected officials who are in the last year of their term should do nothing.... What a new concept and it is exactly what McConnell and his Republican Senators are using as justification for refusing to even consider our president's supremely qualified choice for the Supreme Court. ... Actually it is a Republican recipe for obstruction and disaster that routinely puts off making the hard decisions. There are 143 important non-judge federal appointees now awaiting confirmation. Three federal judgeships in Kentucky are vacant; one has been vacant for three years. ... Our president has performed his job in nominating Judge Garland — the Senate needs to perform its job in holding hearings and voting on that nomination."
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: 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: 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."
The Supreme Court vacancy is just the tip of the iceberg (Baltimore Sun, 03/31/16)
Tommy Tobin Op-Ed: "Just this month, a retirement from D.C.'s U.S. District Court brought the total number of judicial vacancies up to 84 .... The open positions are leading to a backlog of cases across the country .... The dockets in 32 jurisdictions are so packed that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has labeled them "judicial emergencies."
The delay in filling judicial vacancies has real-world effects.... In a recent piece in the Harvard Journal on Legislation, George Everly — the chief counsel of the Senate Budget Committee — noted that while caseloads in the federal trial courts have grown by 38 percent since 1990, the number of district judgeships expanded by only 4 percent.
Mr. Everly and his co-author argue that the Congressional Budget Office's high cost estimates for adding judgeships, which Congress members use to argue against new positions, are fundamentally flawed. ... The authors concluded that withholding federal judgeships from high-caseload jurisdictions can be "penny-wise and pound-foolish, impeding the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Judiciary."... Nearly 10 percent of all seats on the federal bench currently sit vacant. The Senate must do its job so that the members of the judiciary can do theirs."
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: 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."
I Was Just Thinking… C’mon, Sen. Grassley, give Garland a vote (Dallas County News [Adel, IA], 03/31/16)
Bill Haglund, Opinion: "There are several things that can happen if the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Grassley, refuses to consider Garland’s nomination. Only one of those things is good. It’s almost as if Republicans are playing Russian Roulette in a political game where the gun is loaded against them.... In all probability, Republicans could not find a better Democrat to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.... Stonewalling the nomination just might backfire on you and your cohorts in Washington."
Chuck Grassley on Judicial Confirmations: ‘Let’s Do Our Jobs.’ (But That Was 2005) (Huffington Post, 03/31/16)
Ari Rabin-Havt: "Eleven years ago, with a Republican in the White House, Grassley was emphatic that the Senate act quickly on the president’s judicial nominations, telling colleagues that slowing down the confirmation process was “like being a bully on the schoolyard playground.”
According to Grassley in 2005, for the Senate to do its job, George W. Bush’s nominees would have to receive up-or-down votes. Today, apparently, doing his job as chairman of the Judiciary Committee does not even include holding hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland."
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."