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The Need for a Reflective Judiciary Demands a Return to Normal Order (Center for American Progress, 07/15/16)
Danyelle Solomon and Michele L. Jawando: "Edward Stanton III, the highly respected African American U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, has been waiting for more than a year for the U.S. Senate to vote to confirm him as a federal judge. Despite his stellar record and bipartisan support, it is looking less and less likely that the Senate will confirm him before the year is out. Unfortunately, Stanton’s story has become the norm rather than an exception....the speed of the judicial confirmation process has slowed to an all-time low. This Congress is on pace to confirm fewer federal judges to the bench than any other Congress in more than half a century. As a result, the number of vacancies has jumped from 43 to 83 since January 1, 2015, and the number of judicial emergencies has more than doubled in that same time period. This has created the largest backlog of civil cases in American history .... There are 22 nominees currently waiting for full Senate consideration. Twenty-one of those nominees were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimous support."

Ayotte puts her party before NH citizens (Seacoastonline [Southern ME & NH], 07/15/16)
Peter Coffin, Letter to the Editor: "her obstruction of the Supreme Court confirmation process shows that there is nothing she won’t do for her party leaders."

GOP senator: Confirming judges unrelated to ‘doing our jobs (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 07/15/16)
Steve Benen: "If there’s a compelling defense for how Senate Republicans are treating President Obama’s judicial nominees, no one has shared it yet. This goes well beyond the unprecedented mistreatment of Merrick Garland: Politico reported yesterday that this GOP-led Senate has confirmed “just 20 district and circuit court judges … a time when the vacancies are hampering the federal bench nationwide.”... note that when Democrats ran the Senate for the final two years of the Bush/Cheney era, they approved 68 federal judges, more than triple what we’re seeing now. Also note, ... there are plenty of judicial nominees championed by Republicans who are currently stuck – because GOP leaders want to shut down the confirmation process altogether out of partisan spite. But the fight took an unintentionally funny twist yesterday when Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said that when it comes to confirming judicial nominees, it’s not part of senators’ job."

GOP Senator Tillis Doesn't Think Confirming Judges Is His Job (Tidal Soundings, 07/15/16)
"I have already documented the staggering levels of obstruction by the Republican Senate to confirm judges nominated by President Obama. And one of the longest unfilled spots in the judiciary is the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This seat has remained unfilled for the last 10 and a half years and one of the Senators responsible for that district these days is none other than Republican Thom Tillis. Tillis also serves on the Judiciary Committee which has unanimously recommended 23 nominations to the full Senate.... Tillis blocked another move to vote on these judges by saying, "What we get [from Democrats] are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs. I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters." Of course, one of the responsibilities of the Senate that is clearly laid out in Article II of the Constitution is the confirmation of judges:"

Quick Takes: Republicans and the Constitution (Washington Monthly, 07/15/16)
Nancy Letourneau: "One of the deep ironies of our time is how conservatives have branded themselves as the great defenders of the U.S. Constitution and yet, almost daily, we have to wonder if they have any idea what is actually in it ... For example: 'Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) made repeated requests Wednesday to confirm a batch of Obama’s judicial nominees who are ready for votes. Each time they tried, Tillis objected and suggested the Senate shouldn’t be spending time on judges. “What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.”' Perhaps someone needs to read Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution to Sen. Tillis. Just sayin…"

GOP Senator: Confirming Judges Has 'Nothing To Do With Doing Our Jobs (Talking Points Memo, 07/15/16)
CAITLIN MACNEAL: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) does not think that it's part of the Senate's job description to confirm President Obama's judicial nominees. "What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs," he said, according to the Huffington Post. "I'm doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters." In fact, only the Senate can confirm judicial nominees in order to complete the process of filling court vacancies."

Inspiring: This Man Became a U.S. Senator Without Reading the Constitution (INDY Week [NC], 07/15/16)
Paul Blest: "U.S. Senator Thom Tillis is tired of being told to do his job, which is remarkable considering he doesn't seem to have any idea of what his job entails. On Wednesday, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii tried to confirm a batch of President Obama's judicial nominees. Luckily, our esteemed Senator from North Carolina heroically stopped them. From the Huffington Post: ...'Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin later declined to clarify to HuffPost why Tillis said it isn’t the Senate’s job to confirm judges.' ... Thom. Daniel. Here's what the Constitution says ... "

Will someone please direct Senator Thom Tillis to Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution? (New Republic Online, 07/15/16)
Saif Alnuweiri: "“What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said, following calls by Elizabeth Warren and Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono to approve judges awaiting confirmation. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.” But Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2, of the Constitution clearly states that the responsibility of filling empty court seat lies with the Senate. And what those pressing matters are appear to be unclear. Tillis has not found the time to oversee a replacement judge in a district court in his state, one that has been vacant for over a decade."

EDITORIAL: Objection!: Ginsburg should have kept her counsel on Trump (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA], 07/15/16)
"There are now eight rather than nine working justices since the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February. President Barack Obama, acting in his constitutional role, nominated Judge Merrick Garland in March to succeed Justice Scalia. The Republicans in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have refused to consider Judge Garland’s nomination until after the election, ... . This partisan maneuver, with no constitutional justification, has left the Supreme Court short one justice and ideologically deadlocked on some issues."

Benched! Own Job Description Eludes Senator Tillis (Justice Watch, 07/15/16)
"But for Thom Tillis, the Republican Senator from North Carolina and member of the Judiciary Committee, the problem appears to be (for better or worse) an alarming amount of misinformation, whether it be the importance of filling judicial vacancies, how bad the vacancy crisis has become under GOP leadership, or the Senate’s basic constitutional duty to confirm judges....Tillis objected to voting on slate of uncontroversial judicial nominees because, in his words, confirming judges has “nothing to do with doing our jobs.”... Tillis added insult to injury during the Judiciary Committee’s business meeting yesterday, when he defended the GOP majority’s dismal record on judicial confirmations. Tillis first repeated the already-debunked Republican talking point that more judges have been confirmed under President Obama than under President George W. Bush at this point in their respective presidencies. ... What matters is not just the number of confirmed judges, but that Obama has confronted far more vacancies than Bush faced, and that Obama’s judges have been confirmed at a lower rate. While Obama has so far been tasked with filling 410 vacancies, Bush only faced 377 vacancies throughout his entire two terms. Tillis also argued that the number of vacancies is just not that high. That is patently false. Vacancies have increased from 43 to 83 just this Congress. Obama has roughly twice as many vacancies as George W. Bush at this same point in their respective presidencies ... Perhaps Tillis’ belief that filling judicial vacancies is not part of his job explains why the nation’s oldest vacancy is in his home state of North Carolina. Judge Malcolm Howard took senior status nearly 4,000 days ago"

Unhappy reality on Supreme Court (Seacoastonline [Southern ME & NH], 07/15/16)
Gary Patton: "As I write this letter, 110 days have elapsed since the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. During this time U.S. Senate Republicans, including NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte, have blocked any action on Garland's nomination. In the history of the United States, 139 Supreme Court nominees have been confirmed or rejected by the Senate in 110 days. The failure by Senate Republicans, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, to hold hearings and vote Garland up or down has left the Court with only eight justices, raising the possibility of four-to-four split votes which would leave the legal question under consideration unanswered. Unfortunately, this unhappy possibility has become a reality three times"

Republican senator: Confirming judges has 'nothing to do with doing our jobs' (Daily Kos, 07/15/16)
Joan McCarter: "Well, thanks for clearing that up, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).... It would also come as news to the founding fathers, as [Sen.] Warren pointed out. "I'm not sure what version of the Constitution you're reading that doesn't say confirming judges is part of your job in the United States Senate," she told Tillis."

Judge Garland a role model (Spokesman-Review [Spokane, WA], 07/15/16)
Elaine Tyrie, Letter to the Editor: "I urge leaders in the Senate to forward hearings and vote of Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination for Supreme Court justice, with the same regard for public service as Merrick Garland has."

Editorial: Congress on vacation: When Congress begins a seven-week recess this afternoon, it will be finishing its shortest cycle of deliberations in 60 years. (La Opinión, 07/14/16)
"Hundreds of judicial candidates waited for the Senate to bother considering them. Senators haven’t approved any candidates for ... appeals courts since January 2016. Court cases are piling up because there are no judges available to hear them. Senators refused to debate the appointment of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the court only has eight justices and rulings are often tied, forcing the judicial branch to become as paralyzed as the legislature. And now, they’re going on vacation."

Tillis: Confirming judges has “nothing to do with doing our jobs” (Progressive Pulse [NC], 07/14/16)
Commentary by Rob Schofield: "Sometimes it is almost beyond belief that Thom Tillis serves on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. That same thought must’ve been running through the minds of a lot of his fellow senators yesterday afternoon when Tillis took to the Senate floor to block a bundle of federal court nominations who would have filled vacancies that are causing backups in the courts. Many of them passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously. Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record reports: “Tillis objected that the Senate shouldn’t be forced to do ‘things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs’ while action is needed on important matters like Zika, veterans, drug addiction and defense funding. Which prompted Democrat Elizabeth Warren to question what part of the Constitution says that confirming judges isn’t the Senate’s job." ... As the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights noted on Twitter, Tillis’ position is, in a word, “crazy.”... Tillis and his blockading conservative colleagues are simply not doing their jobs in 2016 when it come to their constitutional duty to advise and consent on judicial nominations (including the nomination of the eminently qualified Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court) and it’s simply an embarrassment. Unfortunately, Tillis is so uninformed with respect to his constitutional duties that he doesn’t even grasp how wildly off-base he has strayed."

The Senate’s Unearned Vacation (Huffington Post, 07/14/16)
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club: "there’s no more blatant shirking going on than the Senate’s failure to consider President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. The end of this week will mark 120 days since Judge Garland was nominated to the highest court in the land. Yet Senate Republicans have categorically refused to hold a hearing on his nomination. ... six Supreme Court nominees have been confirmed in the final year of a presidential term. The Supreme Court needs nine justices. Period. The Constitution is clear: The president nominates the justices, and the Senate provides “Advice and Consent.” By hindering the ability of the Supreme Court to function, Senate Republicans are holding our government hostage. Once the president has submitted a nominee, refusing to hold a hearing is partisan politics at its worst. These are momentous times for the United States, and a functional judicial branch is imperative. At stake are nothing less than the clean air, clean water, and climate action safeguards that we have fought for decades to secure"

GOP Senator: Confirming Obama’s Judges Has ‘Nothing To Do With Doing Our Jobs’: It is literally the Senate’s job to confirm judges. (Huffington Post, 07/14/16)
Jennifer Bendery: "Republicans have never made it easy for President Barack Obama to confirm judges. But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) came up with a new reason the Senate shouldn’t be filling empty court seats: It’s not our job. Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) made repeated requests Wednesday to confirm a batch of Obama’s judicial nominees who are ready for votes. Each time they tried, Tillis objected and suggested the Senate shouldn’t be spending time on judges. “What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.” It’s a weird thing to say since it is literally the Senate’s job to confirm judges, as spelled out in the Constitution. It’s also ironic that Tillis is the one saying this, given that he’s overseeing the longest federal court vacancy in the country. There’s been an empty seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for 3,848 days, or 10.5 years. Democrats seemed perplexed by Tillis’ rationale. “I’m not sure what version of the Constitution you’re reading that doesn’t say confirming judges is part of your job in the United States Senate,” Warren said. “Of course confirming judges is part of the Senate’s job,” Hirono said. “In fact, only the Senate can do that.”... At least 24 judicial nominees are ready for votes. None are controversial, and all have bipartisan support. In fact, 23 of them were confirmed unanimously by the Judiciary Committee, of which Tillis is a member.... because the Senate has been moving so slowly to fill them, court vacancies have been skyrocketing. Cases are getting backed up for years and judges are burning out trying to keep up. Even some Republicans are urging their leadership to let nominees get votes."

Supreme Court vacancy watch Day 152 (Daily Kos, 07/14/16)
Joan McCarter: "The reason President Obama has had more judges confirmed overall than his predecessor is because there have been so many more vacancies to fill during his tenure. Right now, there are 89 vacancies in federal courts. At this point in George W. Bush's term, there were less than half as many, around 40. There might be a few pushed through under McConnell, because he has plenty of Republicans who would like to have the confirmations in their own states to tout. But as of now, McConnell's desire to thwart Obama at every turn seems to be overcoming his desire to help his own team. Consider a nomination in Utah, where "the senior […] senator said he is bending McConnell's ear, trying to secure a confirmation vote for Russell. But McConnell has been noncommittal to Hatch, simply responding: 'We'll see,' according to the senator's retelling." Helluva way to run a country."

The Republican Senate leader and regular order (The Hill, 07/14/16)
Carl Tobias: "in early January 2015, Senator McConnell promised to return regular order in the Senate. That month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley also vowed that the panel would follow regular order when processing judicial nominees.... McConnell has drastically slowed the pace of final debates, if needed, and chamber votes. Indeed, the Senate has confirmed merely twenty nominees, averaging one per month since Republicans assumed the majority. This sharply contrasts with the 68 judges whom the Democratic Senate majority helped confirm in President George W. Bush’s last two years. The number of vacancies has doubled from forty to eighty, while the number of emergencies has soared from twelve to as high as 34 and is now 29. There are currently two circuit nominees and eighteen district nominees awaiting up or down votes. The Judiciary Committee approved all of the district nominees without dissent, and GOP home state senators recommended eleven of the eighteen nominees.... Republican leaders can begin to remedy the vacancy crisis and restore regular order by granting all nominees on the floor yes or no votes before departing for the summer recess."

Here’s how much we’re paying the Senate to ignore a Supreme Court nominee (Fusion, 07/14/16)
By Daniel McLaughlin, Rachel Schallom, and Kate Stohr: "This calculator updates in real time with the symbolic cost of inaction on the Supreme Court nomination by members of the Senate as measured by a prorated share of their salaries."

Editorial: Congress on vacation: When Congress begins a seven-week recess this afternoon, it will be finishing its shortest cycle of deliberations in 60 years. (El Diario, 07/14/16)
"Hundreds of judicial candidates waited for the Senate to bother considering them. Senators haven’t approved any candidates for ... appeals courts since January 2016. Court cases are piling up because there are no judges available to hear them. Senators refused to debate the appointment of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the court only has eight justices and rulings are often tied, forcing the judicial branch to become as paralyzed as the legislature. And now, they’re going on vacation."

Our completely inept Congress (The Hill, 07/14/16)
Daniel R. DePetris, contributor: "Nor has the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, four months since President Obama nominated him to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Whether we would like to blame it on a hypertension-inducing election season or good old-fashioned partisanship, the result is the same: a legislative branch that is completely inept at a time when very important issues are on the docket."

Senate has confirmed enough judges, Tillis says (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 07/13/16)
Editorial writer Doug Clark's blog: "U.S. Senate Democrats tried to push 16 judicial nominees to confirmation this afternoon but were denied by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis. Video here. Tillis objected that the Senate shouldn't be forced to do "things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs"... Which prompted Democrat Elizabeth Warren to question what part of the Constitution says that confirming judges isn't the Senate's job. Warren was joined by fellow Democrats Chuck Schumer and Mazie Hirono in trying to break a logjam before the Senate goes into its long summer recess.... Schumer pointed out that the number of judicial vacancies is much greater than those a Democratic Senate left in the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency.... as Hirono said, the pending nominees are noncontroversial, having been approved by a voice vote in the Judiciary Committee (of which Tillis is a member). Furthermore, many were nominated before 2016."

Another judicial candidate deserves a nomination hearing (WIZM [WI], 07/13/16)
Program Director, Scott Robert Shaw: "The delays in holding nomination hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland have been well documented. Garland was nominated to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia back in March. But the Senate refuses to even hold nomination hearings to consider his credentials, despite the fact that Garland has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history. But that delay in holding hearings is nothing compared to the delay in holding hearings for a vacancy on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which serves Wisconsin. Donald Schott was nominated to fill the vacancy on that court back in January. There should be some sense of urgency on the part of our U.S. Senate to get this post filled. It has been vacant for more than six years, a total of 2400 days and counting. That is despite the fact that Schott's nomination is endorsed by both Wisconsn Senators, and a bipartisan group of former Wisconsin State Bar Presidents. The Senate Judiciary Committee has finally held a hearing and approved the nomination with bipartisan support. But still the Senate is refusing to schedule hearings. Schott deserves a fair shot, and the people of Wisconsin deserve a fully staffed court. Because the courts can't fully do their jobs until our Senators do theirs."

Supreme Court vacancy debate should be realistic (Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA], 07/13/16)
Zuiko Redding, guest columnist: "I read Steven Calabresi’s guest column with alarm and a bit of confusion and disgust .... Calabresi says that replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with Merrick Garland would: result in ... impossible outcomes"

EDITORIAL: Moran's shift: U.S. senator plays politics by engaging in GOP races. (Garden City Telegram [KS], 07/13/16)
Editorial by Editor and Publisher Dena Sattler: "U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran ... regardless of why or how it’s happened, it’s unfortunate to watch Moran, once viewed as more of a centrist, gravitate to the far right. His recent flip-flop over whether the U.S. Senate should address President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland — Moran correctly called for senators to move forward with hearings, then fell in line with tea-party obstructionism and reversed his position — was a prime example."

Reproachable record: What Toomey's been up to (Bucks County Courier Times [PA], 07/12/16)
Wayne Kroger, Guest Opinion: "Last July, Toomey said that he was "delighted" that Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo's nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was finally reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This could have occurred months prior to that if Toomey hadn't refused to submit the so-called "blue slip" to move Restrepo's nomination out of the Committee – even though the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts declared a "judicial emergency" for appeals out of Pennsylvania. When asked about the delay, Toomey told a reporter "I've got to run for this lunch" and ducked into an elevator.... Toomey also supports the filibuster of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court,"

COLUMN: Why yes, I do have all the answers (Journal Gazette/Times-Courier [IL], 07/12/16)
Penny Weaver, the editor of the JG-TC: "Congress needs to give Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court a vote. The president did his job and put forth a nomination; Congress is extremely remiss in not even allowing a vote on Merrick Garland. Frankly, the Republicans are just being jerks."

Editorial: Confirm Judge Koh to the 9th Circuit (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 07/11/16)
"Nearly five months after President Obama nominated her to fill an emergency vacancy on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Lucy Haeran Koh is scheduled for her Senate hearing Wednesday. This is welcome news after months of partisan division over judicial appointments.... Koh was the first Asian American federal judge in the Bay Area. Koh has proved herself an accomplished, moderate, evenhanded judge who would bring necessary diversity to the Ninth Circuit. Justice is best delivered by maintaining a full court. Koh deserves Senate confirmation, and quickly."

The Senate risks Election Day chaos: Imagine a Trump-Clinton standoff and a 4-4 Supreme Court (New York Daily News, 07/11/16)
Prof. Burt Neuborne: "By refusing to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the Senate is foisting an eight-member court on the nation — and risking an equally divided court that’s unable to resolve what could be explosive electoral fights, with the presidency hanging in the balance. Imagine what the nation and world would have looked like in 2000 with an eight-person Supreme Court.... In short, apart from being a failure to carry out its clear constitutional duty, the Senate’s irresponsible refusal even to consider Garland’s nomination risks constitutional, economic and civil crisis."