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EDITORIAL: IN OUR OPINION: Thumbs up, thumbs down (Pocono Record [PA] , 04/15/16)
"THUMB DOWN to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for his thin veil of accommodation in "meeting" with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on Tuesday. Toomey won't stand up for the Constitution by acting, though, to fill the glaring vacancy left by the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He'd rather support the Republican line of obstruct and delay, leaving the American people without a full complement on this vital court for at least nine months — just because their politics won't let them entertain anyone, however qualified, who is nominated by President Barack Obama."

EDITORIAL: The voice of reason (Mount Desert Islander [ME], 04/15/16)
"Sen. Susan Collins deserves a full measure of credit and respect for her willingness, once again, to break ranks with most of her Republican Senate colleagues and take the high road, rather than the partisan road.... Collins stands nearly alone among Republicans in her assertion that the Senate should “follow the regular order” and move forward with the process established by the U.S. Constitution to “advise and consent” on the president’s Supreme Court nominations.... the presidential nomination campaign process .... should not – and under the Constitution, does not – foreclose the president’s right – indeed, his duty – to nominate a new Supreme Court justice .... Collins observes that Garland, who has a strong record after 19 years on the Appeals Court and is widely regarded as something of a centrist, could be a far more appealing nominee to Republicans than anyone who might be chosen by the next president. ... Collins is again the rare voice of reason in an arena where partisanship rules. Republican Senate leaders would be wise to heed her advice, move forward with the normal Supreme Court nomination process and let the Senate consent or withhold its consent based on the nominee’s fitness for service on the nation’s highest court."

‘Plumbing new depths in the confirmation wars’ (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 04/15/16)
Steve Benen: "the Senate actually confirmed a district court nominee this week, on a 92-to-0 vote. It was the first floor vote for any judicial nominee in two months.... The Senate Republican majority’s handling of Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination is a scandal of sorts in its own right – the GOP blockade has no precedent in the American tradition – but that’s really just the highest-profile example of a more systemic abuse. Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told CNN this week that the Republican refusal to confirm lower court judges is “plumbing new depths in the confirmation wars, which needs to end for the good of the courts and good of the nation.”"

EDITORIAL: Roses and thorns (Daily Press [VA] , 04/15/16)
"[T]he Daily Press Editorial Board offers a list of area citizens or institutions deserving of "roses" or "thorns." ... This week's thorns go to: • John Whitbeck, chairman of the state Republican Party, for claiming that Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland voted to uphold a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. He was not one of the judges who heard that case. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee refuses to meet with Judge Garland, there seems no reason to misrepresent his record."

Ron Johnson's judicial blocks are illogical (Post-Crescent [WI] , 04/15/16)
Tom Clementi, Community Columnist: "What’s more revealing is this little-publicized point: the longest-running vacancy on any federal appeals court is that of the Seventh Circuit, which hears cases from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. This is a six-year vacancy. Why? It’s due to the efforts of one man: Ron Johnson. Soon after becoming a senator, Johnson blocked the nomination of University of Wisconsin law professor Victoria Nourse. Four years ago, a bipartisan committee was formed to screen potential candidates. Both senators Johnson and Tammy Baldwin each appointed three members to the committee. The latest nominee vetted by the committee was Madison attorney Donald Schott, who received approval from five of the six members. ... But the fact remains that for his entire term, Johnson has blocked any and all nominees to fill the Seventh Circuit’s vacancy. How Constitutional is that?"

Scot Ross: Wisconsin voters silenced because Ron Johnson won't do his job (Wisconsin State Journal, 04/15/16)
"By refusing to do their job and act on nominees to fill vacancies on the federal court, Sen. Ron Johnson and his fellow Republicans who control the U.S. Senate are hurting the judicial system and undermining our democracy.... the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. ... has suffered the longest judicial vacancy in the nation, in large part because Sen. Johnson refused to allow consideration of the nomination made by President Barack Obama in 2009.... Johnson has now moved his obstruction of nominees from our Seventh Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. ... It’s time for Sen. Johnson to stop this unprecedented partisan obstruction and to start doing his job."

Free Pa's federal judicial nominees from Senate limbo: Editorial (PennLive [PA], 04/15/16)
"The Senate's Republican majority has made an absolute fetish of blocking President Barack Obama's judicial appointments – an obstructionist posture that has burdened benches across the nation, particularly in Pennsylvania.... Even before they held the majority, Senate Republicans routinely blocked movement on the president's nominees, filibustering mercilessly and delaying, sometimes for more than a year, even those judges who were eventually approved all but unanimously. Laughably, when the president offered nominations to fill three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2013, GOP leaders accused him of trying to "pack the court." ... some 50 judicial nominees are currently hanging fire .... the Senate has approved just 17 judicial nominations since Republicans took control in 2015. That's fewer than half the 40-plus circuit and district court nominees approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate during a similar period during George W. Bush's presidency.... 34 judicial districts face emergency shortages .... Also nominated by Obama ... Rebecca Ross Haywood for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit .... Toomey is urging fellow Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Idaho, Judiciary Committee chairman, to advance Colville and Younge out of committee and on to a floor vote. His advocacy is commendable, but that Toomey continues to simultaneously (and heartily) block the president's Supreme Court nominee is an irony that is hard to ignore."

Delays in justice persist (Tennessean, 04/14/16)
Jim Martin, Letter to the Editor: "The Republicans in the U.S. Senate have refused to confirm 46 judicial nominees, which is exacerbating the scandal of delayed justice. The bad guys are the Republican senators"

World-Herald editorial: Senate ignores an emergency (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 04/14/16)
"Nebraska’s judicial vacancy has gone unfilled for more than 18 months in a district with high caseloads. That situation is officially an emergency as defined by the federal court system. Nebraska is one of 34 jurisdictions facing a “judicial emergency.” Judicial vacancies currently total 84, with 49 nominees pending. The Nebraska judgeship has been vacant since October 2014 .... Omaha attorney Robert Rossiter Jr. has been nominated to fill the post — and no lawmaker has expressed any qualms about his qualifications.... But Rossiter’s nomination remains frozen, despite continued prodding by Fischer and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. It reflected poorly on Grassley that he opportunistically pushed the two Iowa judicial nominees to the front of the line while qualified nominees like Rossiter remain in limbo. Nor did Grassley help his case when he stated this week that the Tennessee judge was the 324th Obama judicial nominee to be confirmed, compared with 326 for President George W. Bush. In reality, there’s no pattern for predicting how frequently voluntary retirements and other events will create vacancies. In any case, the Senate’s chief concern should be filling vacancies once nominees are properly vetted. The Senate’s obligation to decide on judicial nominees, yea or nay, is particularly great when a vacancy such as Nebraska’s reaches emergency status. Yet Rossiter remains in limbo. By its continued neglect of this important duty, the Senate is announcing its irresponsibility and unfairly burdening Nebraska’s courts."

Toomey, drop the obstructionism to a Garland vote (Philadelphia Tribune [PA], 04/14/16)
Rev. Robert P. Shine, Op-Ed: "Toomey still has time to do the right thing and abandon his obstructionist stance. If he cares about the views of his constituents, and about the Constitution, Toomey should follow up his meeting with Garland with a call for timely hearings and an up-or-down vote."

EDITORIAL: The non-partisan thing to do is have the hearing (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 04/14/16)
"So, beyond the phantom declaration of a “Biden Rule” — it’s nonsense because there’s no such thing — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley ... told Garland the Senate won’t be moving forward with his nomination during this “hyper-partisan election year.” It’s hyperbole Grassley is trying to mask as good governance.... To suggest this election is offering more vitriol than others, and therefore that’s justification for Grassley to not fulfill his constitutional obligation to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nominee, is a disservice to the people who voted for him, the people who have cases before the Supreme Court, and the founding fathers who designed a system specifically to eliminate partisanship on this matter. ... And even some of his key supporters tell him he’s wrong about this. Keith Uhl, Des Moines lawyer who helped manage Chuck Grassley’s first U.S. Senate campaign and is considered a friend, said it’s time for Grassley and Republican Senate leaders to “man up and vote” on Garland."

Breakfast with a side of gridlock (Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA], 04/14/16)
Opinion by Todd Dorman: "But gridlock Grassley is also looking a tad singed these days. He took some heat during a recent series of town hall meetings back home. ... Blame Obama. Blame an election year. Blame the Biden rule, an excuse unearthed several days after Grassley and Senate leaders had already slammed the door. Blame the dog, who ate the nomination. Insist eight justices is enough. “Full Grassley?” This is the “full grasping.” Which straw will come next? ... The nomination of Garland, a highly qualified consensus pick by a twice people-elected president, actually presented a chance to do one sane, reasonable thing before we move from frying pan to fire. ... But my senator won’t allow it to happen."

EDITORIAL: Grassley doing what he decried (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier [IA], 04/13/16)
"A decade ago, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, put the qualifications of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee above politics — a position then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., opposed.... After Bush nominated Samuel Alito in January 2006, Grassley reiterated, “The Supreme Court does not have seats reserved for one philosophy or another. That kind of reasoning is completely antithetical to the proper role of the judiciary in our system of government.”... Roberts echoed Grassley’s earlier sentiments in a Boston speech Feb. 3 ... Somehow those became fighting words for Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who is concerned Roberts may boost Obama nominee Merrick Garland .... Grassley then lamented the court wasn’t political enough. ... Grassley then lamented the court wasn’t political enough."

These 501 Editorials by 278 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.

Judicial Vacancy Crisis Hits Home in Colorado - Literally (Huffington Post, 04/13/16)
Peg Perl: "While public attention has been (deservedly) focused on the empty seat now waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court for the last two months, almost a hundred other judicial vacancies on lower federal courts have languished without nominations, hearings or votes. In fact, the Senate has only confirmed six federal judges so far in 2016, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has held but a single confirmation hearing. Now our Colorado trial judgeship is vacant and a nominee has not even been named by the White House. Senators Bennet and Gardner submitted the same three candidates to the President in January 2016 .... Indeed, the entire Colorado delegation of both parties is actually sponsoring legislation this Congress to increase the number of judges to nine to alleviate these out of control court delays. Already this vacancy has been designated as one of 34 judicial emergencies nationwide ... Perhaps Senator Gardner put it best when he said “there is particular urgency in filling this vacancy” because of the population and caseload growth"

EDITORIAL: The charade marches on: GOP Senate keeps playing games with Obama's Supreme Court pick  (New York Daily News, 04/13/16)
"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley spent 70 minutes with the judge in the Senate dining room. On Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is set to receive Garland “out of courtesy and respect.” There is neither courtesy nor respect in empty ceremony.... Speaking for his caucus, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says plugging ears and saying “la la la, I’m not listening” is a matter of high principle. ... The ways of Washington have rarely been as transparently false."

EDITORIAL: Senate right to confirm Crenshaw; move on to Garland (Tennessean, 04/13/16)
"Republicans have given President Barack Obama a hard time, too, delaying judicial confirmations for political points. A silver lining came on Monday when the Senate unanimously confirmed Nashville attorney Waverly Crenshaw to the federal bench in Middle Tennessee after 14 months. Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, and Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, applauded the move .... Most important, fairness will return for people who deserve their day in court.... A majority of senators may decide that Garland is not the right person for the post, but he should be given a fair hearing....Garland could very well be that person of character, temperament and community mindedness to become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Rather than ignoring him and his qualifications, maybe senators should do their jobs and find out. For the good of the American people."

Senate approves Crenshaw's nomination: After delay of more than a year, Middle Tennessee gets new federal judge (Nashville Post [TN], 04/12/16)
J.R. Lind: "Since the retirement of Joe Haynes, the Middle District has been in a state of so-called judicial emergency, with the caseload straining the schedule of the three remaining judges. Nevertheless, Crenshaw's nomination - and dozens of others - was caught up in a partisan logjam over President Barack Obama's nominees. Crenshaw had the full-throated support of Tennessee's two Republican senators and was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, yet it took 14 months for a full vote from the Senate."

EDITORIAL: Garland's Credentials Bona Fide. We Reiterate: Grant a Hearing (New Jersey Law Journal, 04/12/16)
"Then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch observed, of the 1997 Senate (76-23) confirmation of Garland's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, that no one dared to come to the floor to speak against Garland.... the Senate leader's refusal to even consider the president's nominee is without precedent.... when judges are seen as politicians in robes, confidence in the judiciary suffers. Thus the refusal to hold hearings until after the presidential election will do damage to the courts if it is sustained.... In our view, Barack Obama has proposed an ideal "consensus" candidate. One who has garnered bipartisan support in the past.... Merrick Garland is a judge whose record tells us that he models the kind of search for broad agreement that serves the courts and the country well. If the Senate continues to stonewall his nomination, it will embroil the Supreme Court in partisan combat that threatens confidence in the judiciary, as recent remarks by Chief Justice Roberts suggest. We join many others in urging the Senate to offer its advice and consent to the nomination of Judge Garland."

These 496 Editorials by 277 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.

Benched! Grassley’s Bad Confirmation Math (Justice Watch, 04/12/16)
"The Senate finally voted on Waverly Crenshaw, Jr.’s nomination ... He’s just the 17th judge confirmed since Republicans took over the Senate in January 2015, putting the 114th Congress on pace for the lowest number of judicial confirmations in more than 60 years, and way behind the 68 judges that George W. Bush appointed in his last two years.... Obama has had 20 more judges confirmed than did Bush did at this point in his presidency (324 vs. 304). The problem is that comparing the raw number of judges confirmed is meaningless—something we’ve pointed out here, here, here, and, in a detailed rebuttal of all the lame reasons Republicans use to justify their obstruction, here. Obama has had more judges confirmed because he’s had substantially more vacancies to fill. In fact he’s faced 53 more vacancies than did Bush at this point, a difference that far outpaces his greater number of confirmations.... During the final two years of recent presidencies, opposition-Senates have continued to do their job and confirm judicial nominees: a Democratic-led Senate confirmed 68 judges in Bush’s final two years; Bill Clinton had 73 judges confirmed by a Republican Senate in his final two years; and a Democratic Senate confirmed 85 judges in Ronald Reagan’s last two years. In that context, the 17 judges confirmed so far during Obama’s final two years—while 46 judicial nominees are pending—is a national embarrassment."

EDITORIAL: Ayotte needs to break ranks on SUPCO nominee (Foster's Daily Democrat [NH], 04/12/16)
"Ayotte's "courtesy and respect" shtick rings more than a little hollow to our ears. Why bother with pleasantries if you have no intention of taking this nomination seriously?... What's also unclear is why Ayotte and other senators in lockstep over blocking Garland's nomination can't simply let this man go through the process .... We agree it's time to give Garland a hearing."

EDITORIAL: Building nation for everyone (Lompoc Record [CA], 04/12/16)
"There have been a few cracks in the partisan wall of resistance against President Obama’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, but not enough to make a dent.... it’s not working for America.... Voter ID and similar restrictions foster less voting, which works in favor of a small portion of one party. How can that be good for true democracy? Perhaps that is what is really behind the GOP’s drawing a line in the sand on Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. The irony is that Judge Garland would likely be middle-of-the-road philosophically as a Supreme Court justice"

EDITORIAL: Eight is enough says Grassley (Brattleboro Reformer [VT], 04/11/16)
"The simple truth is that if either John McCain or Mitt Romney was president now rather than Barack Obama, Republicans would be eager to approve the nominee — perhaps Judge Garland — of either president, not coming up with flimsy, cynical arguments for eight Court justices. The rule of law is of great importance to conservatives — except when it bumps into partisan politics."

EDITORIAL: OUR VIEW: Highest court at least works (Pharos-Tribune [IN], 04/11/16)
"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 8-0 decision Monday in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott.... at least one branch of government can actually do something, much to the consternation of the do-nothing politicians on Capitol Hill."

These 492 Editorials by 276 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.

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: McConnell shoots his credibility (Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald [PA], 04/11/16)
"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 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.... 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: 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."

Editorial: Moran's reversal a disappointment; Senator had opportunity to uphold state's long history of bipartisan statesmanship (Topeka Capital-Journal [KS] , 04/11/16)
"This editorial advisory board on March 17 encouraged both of our U.S. senators to hold hearings for President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee. In the days that followed, Sen. Jerry Moran told a town hall in Cimarron that he was open to hearings for nominee Merrick Garland: “I have my job to do,” he said. Two weeks later, Moran decided that doing his job wasn’t so important after all.... Moran’s principled opposition to the GOP establishment quickly faded, and his political “criteria” superseded his responsibilities as a senator."