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Editorials and Opinion


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EDITORIAL: Grinding gears of politics (Lompoc Record [CA], 03/20/16)
"Obama’s nominee, appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, is a judicial moderate who has won the praise of top Republicans in the past. By nominating Garland, the Obama administration has put the GOP in a real bind. How, for example, do Republican senators who have heaped praise on Garland’s judicial balance now oppose him for a place on the high court?... McConnell’s Senate GOP colleagues who face re-election next November appear to be having second thoughts. If they cave to the party leader’s intransigence, voters are likely to see such foot-dragging for what it is — an act of political self-preservation, undertaken without regard for America or its citizens."

Editorial: Reject Supreme Court gridlock, senators (Cincinnati Enquirer [OH] , 03/20/16)
"The 11-month-plus vacancy that Senate Republicans are threatening would leave important business, criminal and other cases in a lengthy limbo. President Obama nominated a moderate replacement last week in Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Enquirer editorial board urges Portman, who’s up for re-election, and McConnell to reconsider their opposition to hearings for this nominee who has previously received bipartisan support."

EDITORIAL: GOP blunders on nomination (Columbus Dispatch [OH], 03/20/16)
"[I]t seems obvious that the Founders expected that the Senate would engage in some sort of dialogue with the president and his nominee, otherwise there is no exchange of “advice.” But perhaps Republicans regard “Get lost” as advice. Senate Republicans, such as Ohio’s Rob Portman, have advanced the argument that the voters of the United States should decide who should be nominated to the Supreme Court through their vote for president in November. But that’s exactly the decision the voters made three Novembers ago when they elected Obama to a four-year term, which continues until January. Presumably, voters elected him with the expectation that he would exercise his duties for his entire term. And it is illogical to argue that the president already elected has less right to seat a new justice than a president who has yet to be elected.... The Senate should hold confirmation hearings for Garland and then take a vote on his nomination."

EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: Do-nothing Republicans take pay under false pretenses (Bennington Banner [VT], 03/20/16)
"The most high-profile abomination, of course, is the unprecedented refusal of Senate Republicans to even consider filling a Supreme Court vacancy for no reason beyond spiting the Democratic president. This could leave the court short a justice for a year or more.... if majority Senate Democrats did refuse to hold hearings for a Republican president's Court nominee they would be absolutely wrong in doing so. A speculated wrong doesn't make right the Republicans' grievous, unconstitutional wrong."

Editorial: Senate should hold judicial hearing (Spokesman-Review [Spokane, WA], 03/20/16)
"Garland is probably the best nominee Republicans could’ve hoped for from a Democrat. McMorris Rodgers wasn’t alone in trying to cover blatant partisanship with high-minded-sounding rhetoric. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said, “The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that affect every American and shape our nation’s legal landscape for decades.” That’s always the case....The next member of the court is apt to outlive the terms of several presidents, so skipping the current one, for the first time ever, makes no sense.... There simply is no principle on which to hang an argument that a yet-elected president should be handed the task. ...With nearly 300 days left in the current term, there is plenty of time."

Editorial: Senate should conduct Supreme Court hearings (Albuquerque Journal [NM], 03/20/16)
"[T]he Republican-controlled Senate should put politics aside and hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland .... Obama put forth a sound nominee whose long record as a federal judge, and former prosecutor, would appear to be far more moderate than far-left partisans would have desired.... the GOP refusal to even meet with Judge Garland is an insult to the American public and to the Constitution.... It’s time to get the process for filling vacancies on the Supreme Court back on the right track. Conduct hearings. Make a decision."

EDITORIAL: Do your jobs (York Dispatch [PA] , 03/20/16)
"President Barack Obama has named his nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The choice is one that should be a catalyst for consensus. Garland has long been equally praised by Republicans and Democrats....Among those obstructing the process is Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.... there has never been such an outright dereliction of duty.... If you believe, as we do, that it’s time for Pat Toomey and others to stop playing political games with the highest court in the land, go online and tell them it’s time to do their jobs."

Editorial: Blocking Garland (Providence Journal [RI] , 03/20/16)
"Of the many wise and foolish things said Wednesday after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the forehead-smacking goofiest may have been from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who tweeted to his followers: Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination… #SCOTUS Mr. Toomey couldn’t have made it plainer. The determination by Senate Republicans to not even give a hearing to Mr. Garland is not about his merits. It’s not about the constitutional procedure of a president nominating a candidate and the Senate weighing that candidate. Instead it’s all about denying the current Democratic president a nomination.... In selecting Mr. Garland, the president commendably nominated a man regarded by people of both parties to be fair, diligent, hard-working, smart and with a spotless record.... Senate Republicans should set aside the politics and give Mr. Garland a hearing."

Editorial: Clear Voice (Caledonian-Record [VT], 03/20/16)
"President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.... Americans get a “voice” every election cycle and most recently used it to say they wanted Obama. Since there’s a vacancy now, and he’s our President, he should get to fill the seat. The Senate should hold hearings straightaway and confirm Judge Garland."

Editorial: Majority's voice ignored in SCOTUS stall (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 03/20/16)
"Here's a number for you, Sen. Grassley: 816,429. That's how many Iowans preferred President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012. That's how many "voices" your utter obstructionism is silencing from your home state in the name of false principle and partisanship. Chuck Grassley continued to impale himself on his party-first sword last week, following Obama's nomination of centrist U.S. appellate Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.... Grassley's "voice of the people" dogma, while he stalls for late Justice Antonin Scalia's reincarnation, is tiresome and flatly dishonest."

Editorial: Suddenly, Pennsylvania just got a lot more important (Delaware County Daily Times [PA], 03/20/16)
"President Obama nominated D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland for the high court seat opening created by the death of vaunted conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland, seen as a centrist, has been on the short list before. He has been lauded by members of both parties as eminently qualified. He blunts the argument made by many that Obama would use the opening to tilt the 4-4 deadlock on the court to the left. Not that any of that makes much difference. That’s because Republican leaders in the Senate have vowed not only to deny him a vote, but even the formality of a hearing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the tone of obstructionism .... They apparently believe a president’s duties – one of which includes nomination of Supreme Court justices – does not extend to the last year of his term. ... That puts Toomey in the spotlight. ... he is toeing the party line when it comes to the Supreme Court. Toomey ... may be shooting himself in the foot with this backward stance."

EDITORIAL: Do your job, Sen. Capito; The Senate needs to be led by our Constitution -- not by a pure political play -- and consider the president's nominee to the Supreme Court (Register-Herald [WV], 03/20/16)
"President Obama did his constitutional duty this past week, nominating Merrick Garland, 63, a longtime federal appeals court judge, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. We are calling on the U.S. Senate — along with our two senators, Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito — to do its job, hold hearings and then cast an up or down vote on the president’s nominee. Sen. Manchin is on board.... McConnell, a belligerent obstructionist since the day President Obama took office back in 2008, believes the vacancy should be filled by the newly elected president next year so that the will of the people is counted. Capito, being a good McConnell soldier and less an independent thinker, has signed onto that pledge. In short, she is more beholding to McConnell’s warped thinking than she is to us, the citizens of West Virginia.... That is so unfortunate and contrary to what we thought we were getting when we elected her to office in 2014. We remind Sen. Capito that when she took office, she took a pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not promote political gamesmanship. Whether she knows it or not, marching to McConnell’s drum beat makes her look like a mindless puppet ... Capito’s reasoning — waiting for the people to weigh in — is naked, self-serving sophistry.... You are better than this, senator. And we expect more. Either that or we want your salary back."

EDITORIAL: Make Obama blink -- weigh his justice pick (Sentinel & Enterprise [Fitchburg, MA], 03/20/16)
"In any other situation, Garland would encounter little opposition.... This GOP-controlled Senate apparently would rather fight among itself -- presenting the country with another example of Washington's dysfunction .... So Republicans, why not call Obama's bluff? Hold those confirmation hearings, and if Judge Garland's record passes muster, endorse his appointment and let the full Senate decide."

EDITORIAL: Senate can't shirk its duty on the Merrick Garland nomination (Eagle [Bryan-College Station, TX], 03/20/16)
"It's no wonder senators won't consider the nomination of Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court. They must be exhausted from shirking their duties.... the Senate's deliberate inaction is disgraceful. Every presidential nominee to any position deserves at the least a hearing in a timely manner on his or her merits to hold that position. From all accounts, Judge Garland is well-qualified to serve on the nation's highest court. ...Now, we urge -- no, we insist -- that the Senate do its duty."

EDITORIAL: Keep dirty politics out of Supreme Court nomination; Ad attacking Appellate Judge Jane Kelly is a new low (Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA], 03/19/16)
"A recent attack ad against 8th Circuit Appellate Judge Jane Kelly is yet another new low in the unfolding Supreme Court vacancy drama.... The ad was bankrolled by the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative, dark-money organization ... No doubt, they considered it a pre-emptive strike against a SCOTUS nominee that might have made it difficult for Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to uphold his pledge to block any judge nominated by President Barack Obama.... Grassley must publicly disavow the negative ad and the group responsible for it."

Editorial: Civil war in the GOP? (MetroWest Daily News [MA], 03/19/16)
"As we’ve seen with the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Republicans remain united in anti-Obama obstructionism.... For all their hand-wringing, Republicans, be they establishment or grassroots, appear to have learned nothing in the last eight years."

EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: No, no, no, maybe (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 03/19/16)
"Senate Republicans can’t even get their stories straight about blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. They say a lame-duck president shouldn’t be allowed to fill a vacancy on the court during his final year in office. Then some of them hint they might hold their own lame-duck session to confirm Merrick Garland .... Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, is as good a selection as Republicans could hope to get from any Democratic president.... Recent polls in North Carolina and other battleground states consistently show that most voters want the Senate to consider a Supreme Court nominee this year. Republicans like Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina are defying public opinion for the sake of partisan obstructionism. ... There is no precedent for the Republican position and no logic behind it."

Gerth | Judicial standoff exposes broken system (Courier-Journal [KY] , 03/19/16)
Joseph Gerth: "The system is broken. But I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know. The nomination of Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Tabor Hughes to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the subsequent killing of the appointment is proof. The grown-ups need to take charge and fix it. A little bit of history: There are currently 83 court vacancies on federal court benches across the United States, not counting the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court that was created when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Three of those vacancies are in Kentucky, the home state of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and it's a disproportionate share no matter how you look at it. And those vacancies are among the oldest in the nation.... U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said the White House talked to McConnell’s office a year or so ago about appointing Hughes to the court. Apparently, McConnell would hear nothing of it even though Hughes has been hailed as an excellent, centrist judge – including by some conservatives who have practiced before her."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Senate should do its job (Mankato Free Press [MN] , 03/19/16)
"Thumbs down to the continued stubbornness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who insists on ignoring the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia. It’s difficult to see how this ends well for the Senate Republicans ... President Obama nominated a man who should be acceptable to the Senate Republicans. The nation will not be well served to leave the court short-handed for two terms. The Senate should do its job. Hold the hearings, cast the vote and move on."

EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: Do-nothing Republicans take pay under false pretenses (Berkshire Eagle [MA] , 03/19/16)
"Washington's do-nothing party has actually managed to exceed its own low standards in recent weeks. The most high-profile abomination, of course, is the unprecedented refusal of Senate Republicans to even consider filling a Supreme Court vacancy for no reason beyond spiting the Democratic president. This could leave the court short a justice for a year or more. In attempting to defend the indefensible following President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, the kind of safe, moderate choice Republicans would normally support, some congressional Republicans have claimed that Democrats would do the same if the situation was reversed. They don't know this to be true, of course, but if majority Senate Democrats did refuse to hold hearings for a Republican president's Court nominee they would be absolutely wrong in doing so. A speculated wrong doesn't make right the Republicans' grievous, unconstitutional wrong."

Sen. Rob Portman should go his own way on Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH], 03/19/16)
"Sen. Rob Portman has decided to decided to fall in line with Republican Party leaders in their sharply partisan and uncompromising stance on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nomination. It's a mistake for Portman to do so.... He needs to show that same sense of principle and backbone with the Merrick Garland nomination -- even if it's purely as moral leadership in a party that seems determined to deny Garland even a confirmation hearing. He would join at least two other principled Senate Republicans who have said they'd be willing to vote on the Garland nomination"

EDITORIAL: Senate GOP runs big risk over court (Albany Democrat-Herald [OR], 03/19/16)
"For our money, the 63-year-old Garland seems to be a well-qualified centrist who likely would serve with distinction for a decade or so on the nation’s highest court. Regardless of what else you may have heard, Garland apparently believes that the role of a judge is to interpret the law, not to make it. But let’s be honest: The fight over Garland in the U.S. Senate isn’t about Garland’s qualifications. (In fact, in 2010, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said Garland could be confirmed to the Supreme Court “virtually unanimously.”) ... Senate Republicans who are taking a realistic look at this might well decide that the hard line they’re trying to hold is too much of a gamble."

EDITORIAL: SCOTUS history against GOP (Pine Bluff Commercial [AR], 03/19/16)
"While Garland’s previous vetting en route to the Federal Appellate bench was strongly bi-partisan and without controversy, his road to the Supreme Court may be yet more rocky. This owes in large part to the Republican party’s myopic determination to thwart anything vaguely Obama-related. To characterize this latest round of obstructionist bluster as childish would be far too charitable. Take for instance one of the many gems spewed by members of Arkansas’ own Congressional delegation. Sen. Tom Cotton released a press statement ...Of the Republican ballyhoo, Cotton’s remarks are typical. They seek to cast confirmation of any Obama nominee as somehow undercutting the “voice of the people.” Horse-hockey. The historical record is far clearer.... Facts being what they are, the Republicans are on the wrong side of history. ... In short, it’s time for the Republican party to grow up, suck it up and deal with the reality of Obama. The people have spoken. They twice voted to give Barack Obama the mantle of the presidency and all that entails, including the discretion to make nominations to federal positions. Why are Republican silencing those voices?"

IN OUR OPINION: Editorial: Court nominee deserves hearing (Ocala Star Banner [FL] , 03/19/16)
"With his choice of a nominee to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, President Obama gave Republican senators a golden opportunity to act in solidarity with the American people — a majority of whom want Washington to get over itself and move forward with filling the vacancy on the bench. Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland ... He is so well qualified that no less an authority than GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch commended him. Even so, today’s Republican leadership is locked in obstruction mode.... Top senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, continue to insist that the nomination should be left up to the next president — not Obama. That stance is an insult to Obama and to voters, a majority of whom re-elected him in 2012 to a four-year — not a three-year — term. ... Garland should get a hearing, at least, for the chance to sit on the nation’s highest court."

EDITORIAL: Supreme Court nominee deserves a hearing (Fergus Falls [MN] Daily Journal, 03/18/16)
"The Daily Journal is neither Republican nor Democrat, but we — the present members of the Editorial Board — do stand on the liberal side on some issues and on the conservative side on other issues. On the issue of President Barack Obama nominating a justice for the Supreme Court to replace conservative Antonin Scalia, we come down on the side of history. It’s preposterous to claim there is not precedence for a president to nominate a Supreme Court justice in the final year of his second term. “There comes a point in the last year of the president, especially in their second term, where you stop nominating,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. That’s just flat-out not true. The following 14 justices have been confirmed in an election year.... Republicans in the Senate would be wise to approve Garland — after at least giving him the usual hearing."

Standard View EDITORIAL: Daines, Zinke pander to politics with statements on Supreme Court nominee (Montana Standard, 03/18/16)
"Sen. Steve Daines chose politics over doing his job when he marched in lockstep with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and pompously announced that he would not even meet with Merrick Garland, a centrist and a formidable legal scholar who has been almost universally praised for his judgment, hard work, judicial temperament and even-handedness. And Rep. Ryan Zinke, not to be outdone, announced that President Obama’s nomination of Garland was “clearly beyond his Constitutional authority.” That’s not only untrue, it’s a ridiculous caricature of the truth. The President has not only the authority but an obligation to put forward a nominee when there is a Supreme Court vacancy. The Senate is obliged to confirm or reject."

Considering whether Haywood is qualified through the lens of an appeal she lost (CA3blog, 03/18/16)
Matthew Stiegler: "Republican Senator Pat Toomey reportedly thinks Third Circuit nominee Rebecca Ross Haywood isn’t qualified. Yesterday I looked at whether Haywood is qualified by examining her legal experience. I concluded that her experience as an AUSA and a federal clerk compares favorably with the court’s recently appointed judges. We can also approach the question of whether Haywood is circuit-judge material from a different angle. Being qualified isn’t just about experience, it’s also about ability. ... Bottom line, I saw nothing in Haywood’s performance in Brown that would support Toomey’s charge that she is unqualified. All I see is a first-rate advocate with the makings of an outstanding judge."

EDITORIAL: Make Obama blink -- weigh his justice pick (Lowell Sun [MA], 03/18/16)
"Are the Republicans going to get caught in another Obama-orchestrated trap? It sure appears that way, now that the president has nominated centrist jurist Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court ... In any other situation, Garland would encounter little opposition. Since we have no Republicans representing this state in Congress, we're at least glad to see that New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte is one of several GOP senators who plan to meet with Garland in the coming weeks. Much like the Democratic majority with an exiting President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the Republicans now face the prospect of approving a primarily moderate Supreme Court nominee or leaving it to the next administration. That Senate, which included McConnell, approved Justice Anthony Kennedy, 97-0.... So Republicans, why not call Obama's bluff? Hold those confirmation hearings, and if Judge Garland's record passes muster, endorse his appointment and let the full Senate decide."

The politics and hypocrisy of federal judgeships (Dallas Morning News, 03/18/16)
Dallas Morning News editorial board Opinion Blog by Jim Mitchell: "I find it ironic that Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz put up five names to fill other federal court vacancies in the courts that cover Texas....I’m glad the senators have put forward their recommendations. Retirements and hefty caseloads have put the federal judiciary into crisis mode — too many cases and not enough judges. But both men had been very slow to recommend candidates to fill long-standing vacancies on the federal courts. Now the GOP is slow-walking Garland’s nomination .... We should demand a timely review of these choices. But, oh, wait, that’s what Obama is asking the GOP to do for Garland."