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Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Enzi: The American people should decide on next U.S. Supreme Court justice
(Republican - Wyoming) 02/25/16
"The Constitution gives the Senate the right to make decisions on a Supreme Court nominee. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has announced the committee’s intention to exercise its constitutional authority to withhold consent on a nominee submitted by this president. I believe the American people should decide the direction of the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Grassley Floor statement: WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES RULE AND FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Iowa) 02/25/16
"The President packed the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which reviews these regulations, so they are going to have a friendly judge who says that whatever these bureaucrats do that may even be illegal or unconstitutional, they can get away with it.... The American people can decide whether they want another Justice who just decides cases based on what they feel in their ``heart,'' and who buys into this notion of a ``living Constitution,'' or whether they want a man or woman who believes the text means what it says"

Sen. Blunt Floor Statement: REMEMBERING JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA AND FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Missouri) 02/24/16
"This President has every constitutional right and obligation to nominate somebody to a vacancy on the Supreme Court , but there is a second obligation in the Constitution; that is, the obligation of the Senate to confirm that nomination. I have a view that the answer to that question is not this person, not right now because we are too close to making a big decision about the future of the country to not include this process of what happens to the Supreme Court in that process."

Sen. Lee Floor Remarks on the Senate’s “Advice and Consent”
(Republican - Utah) 02/24/16
"From the outset, I have maintained that the Senate should withhold its consent of a Supreme Court nomination to fill Justice Scalia’s seat and wait to hold any hearings on a Supreme Court nominee until the next president is sworn in."

Sen. Lindsey Graham: No Hearing, No Vote On Obama Supreme Court Nominee
(Republican - South Carolina) 02/23/16
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he does not believe Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing or vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Sen. Mark Kirk: Scalia replacement must 'bridge differences'
(Republican - Illinois) 02/22/16
"I recognize the right of the president, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider. I also recognize my duty as a senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information.... My sincerest hope is that President Obama nominates someone who captures the sentiment he spoke about before the Illinois General Assembly this month — a nominee who can bridge differences, a nominee who finds common ground and a nominee who does not speak or act in the extreme. Such a selection by the president would demonstrate a break from the rancor and partisanship of Washington and a real commitment to a new beginning even as his own term nears its end."

Sen. Fischer on filling Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/22/16
"In several of my conversations, many Nebraskans voiced their concerns about the current vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Our nation was saddened by the sudden loss of such a brilliant legal mind and selfless servant of the law. It is crucial for Nebraskans and all Americans to have a voice in the selection of the next person to serve a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, and there is precedent to do so. Therefore, I believe this position should not be filled until the election of a new president."

Sen. Collins: nominee to fill Supreme Court vacancy should be given hearing and full consideration
(Republican - Maine) 02/22/16
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, broke ranks with Republican leaders on Monday, telling CNN that President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court should be given a hearing....“It is the duty of the Senate, under the Constitution, to give our advice and give our consent or withhold our consent,” she told the cable news outlet. “I believe we should follow the regular order and give careful consideration to any nominee that the president may send to the Senate.” Collins issued an email statement Monday night to the Portland Press Herald that reinforced her position. “As with all judicial nominees, but especially for a Supreme Court justice, I consider carefully the nominee’s intellect, integrity, qualifications, experience, temperament and respect for the Constitution and the rule of law,” Collins said in the statement. “This is the approach I have taken with every judicial nominee who has come before me, some of whom I have supported and some of whom I have voted against.” “Should the President send the Senate a nominee, I will give that individual my full attention as I have always done,” Collins said.

Sen. Flake: No Scalia Replacement This Year
(Republican - Arizona) 02/22/16
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement: “One would have to go back more than a century to find a scenario where a president’s nominee for the Supreme Court was confirmed by the opposition party in the Senate when the vacancy occurred during an election year. I'm not about to break new ground in the Senate, particularly when any nominee could so drastically shift the balance of the court.”

Oklahoma senators want state judicial nominees to advance, even if Supreme Court process stalls
(Republican - Oklahoma) 02/21/16
Oklahoma's senators support the two chosen for U.S. district judgeships in Oklahoma City and want the Senate to advance the nominations. There is, they said, a huge difference between district judges and Supreme Court justices. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, "These Oklahoma judicial nominees were put forward last year, giving ample time for the individuals to be properly vetted. "Both have strong bipartisan support and should be permitted a hearing and a vote in the Senate. The Supreme Court nomination is an entirely separate situation as the balance of the highest federal court is now in play." Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said the White House conducted a six-month vetting process of Mitchell and Palk. "Both are fair and strong candidates for the United States District Court," he said.... Lankford said decisions about whether to advance lower court justices and Obama's nomination for the Supreme Court should be evaluated separately. "Supreme Court justices are absolutely unique,'' he said. "The Supreme Court vacancy is a monumental decision that will make a profound impact on the courts and many significant decisions for decades." Inhofe agreed, saying, "I believe the American people are now not only voting for a new administration but a new Supreme Court, because whoever fills this seat will greatly impact the next generation of our nation.”

Sen. McCain defends his opposition to Obama on Supreme Court pick
(Republican - Arizona) 02/21/16
"This is about a lame-duck president who will be unaccountable to the American people," McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic. "And I think that one of the most important duties of a president of the United States is to nominate. Obviously, as we know, it's the Senate that confirms. But I want the next president to be held responsible for the selection of his or her nominee."... "When Harry Reid broke the rules to ram through judges to lifetime appointments — he broke the rules — I said at the time if you do this it will be impossible for us to cooperate with you," McCain reiterated with regard to the Scalia situation.

Sen. Coats says court nominee deserves Senate hearing
(Republican - Indiana) 02/20/16
“If the president nominates someone, which is his choice, I think that person would deserve a hearing if that person is not someone that is just obviously nominated for political purposes,” Coats said this week in an interview. “My litmus test here is, since we’re replacing a Scalia for justice, that it ought to be somebody who has some adherence to the constitutional position of Justice Scalia to succeed in a Republican-held Congress.” Coats said it is a position shared by Republicans and Democrats alike: Either party always wants a departing judge of its liking replaced by “someone who is pretty much along the lines of that person,” he said. In this case, an Obama nominee who is not a strict constitutionalist is “dead on arrival,” Coats said Thursday.... Coats said that deferring the choice to the next president and Senate, or even to the post-election lame-duck session of the Senate, would provide “a real litmus test of where the American people want this country to go” politically in the wake of this year’s elections. Coats, who is not seeking re-election this year, said he would not abstain from voting in the event that an Obama nominee for the court makes it all the way to a confirmation vote on the Senate floor while he is in office. “I have already publicly said if my position is not upheld” on the nomination of a conservative such as Scalia, “I will then move clearly to the criteria that I have used in the past,” he said. Coats said he would judge the nominee by that person’s “experience, the consistency, the record, the character, the judicial temperament and the position on the role of the Constitution as it applies to the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Ayotte Op-Ed: People Must Have Their Say in Supreme Court Debate
(Republican - New Hampshire) 02/19/16
"This election year will have enormous consequences for our country, and I believe New Hampshire citizens and all Americans deserve the opportunity to make their voices heard in the presidential election - and the chance to decide who appoints this consequential next Supreme Court justice. I will continue to stand up to ensure that New Hampshire citizens have a voice in this nomination, which will have a significant impact on the direction of our country for generations to come."

Sen. Collins on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Maine) 02/17/16
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that if President Barack Obama puts forward a nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, she will give that nominee her “full attention.”... “There will be plenty of time for the process to move forward,” she said, adding that when a nominee emerges, senators “should carry out our constitutional duty.”

Sen. Ron Johnson on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Wisconsin) 02/17/16
"I strongly agree that the American people should decide the future direction of the Supreme Court by their votes for president and the majority party in the U.S. Senate," Johnson said in a statement Sunday.... "Leader McConnell came out literally, within, I'm not even sure he took an hour, maybe two hours. And then Sen. Grassley, who's chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would be the first hurdle any nominee would have to go through. And then Sen. Orrin Hatch also. All three came out basically saying the same thing," Johnson said in an interview with radio host Vicki McKenna. Johnson was a bit more defensive about his comments during a radio interview Tuesday on "The Jerry Bader Show," trying to justify blocking a nominee and saying he'd be open to voting on someone. "Maybe I haven't quite heard exactly what Leader McConnell or Sen. Grassley has said, but ... from what I've heard and what I've also said is, our advice is that ... when the American people are going to be deciding the direction of the country, we should let them decide the direction of the Supreme Court as well," he said. "I've never said that I wouldn't vote, or that we shouldn't vote. ... I have no idea how the process plays out, I'm not in control of it. I'm not the majority leader, I'm not chairman of the Judiciary. By the time I would actually take the vote, if it comes to that, I'll take a vote," he added. In another interview Tuesday, as reported by ThinkProgress, Johnson also said he'd be open to an up-or-down vote on a nominee. "So put it up for a vote and vote an individual down," he said when radio host John Howell said Republicans might look like "petulant children" if they don't vote. "I don’t think there’s much of a difference one way or another."

Sen. Murkowski on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Alaska) 02/17/16
"I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing,” Murkowski told reporters ... “That doesn’t necessarily mean that that ends up in a vote. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether or not this individual, based on their record … should be named to the highest court in the land.” ... Murkowski asserted that Grassley “does intend to conduct hearings” on the eventual nominee to replace Scalia.

Sen. Hatch on Filibusters & Judicial Nominees
(Republican - Utah) 02/17/16
"I don't think we should filibuster the Supreme Court nominee or any judgeship nominees. We wouldn't have to filibuster," Hatch said on "Wolf." "All it would take is for Sen. Grassley to just say, 'Look, we're not going to confirm anybody this year.' The reason we're not going to confirm is we value the court, we don't want it to be in this political atmosphere. We value the integrity of the court and we're going to put it over to next year."

Sen. Heller Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - Nevada) 02/17/16
“The chances of approving a new nominee are slim, but Nevadans should have a voice in the process. That’s why I encourage the President to use this opportunity to put the will of the people ahead of advancing a liberal agenda on the nation’s highest court. But should he decide to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, who knows, maybe it’ll be a Nevadan,”

Sen. Wicker: Next President Should Choose Scalia Replacement
(Republican - Mississippi) 02/16/16
“This decision is too important and too consequential to let this current President make the decision in an election year. The next President should choose Justice Scalia’s replacement, and American voters should have an opportunity to speak on this issue.”

Sen. Tillis on Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - North Carolina) 02/16/16
Appearing on The Tyler Cralle Show on Tuesday morning, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) cautioned against vowing to automatically block any nominee. “I think we fall into the trap if just simply say sight unseen, we fall into the trap of being obstructionists,” Tillis said. Listen to it (relevant portion begins at 1:58): Still, Tillis, who was elected to the Senate in 2014, did not sound like a man ready to vote a potential Obama nominee, even if he believes the person deserves a hearing. “If he puts forth someone that we think is in the mold of President Obama’s vision for America, then we’ll use every device available to block that nomination,” Tillis said. He advised the president to nominate someone who has “an almost identical resume and capabilities of Justice Scalia.”

Sen. Grassley hasn’t decided whether to hold hearing on Obama’s Supreme Court pick
(Republican - Iowa) 02/16/16
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley isn’t ready to say whether he’ll convene a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on President Obama’s nominee to fill the opening on the U.S. Supreme Court. “I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions,” Grassley told reporters this morning. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”... “This is a very serious position to fill and it should be filled and debated during the campaign and filled by either Hillary Clinton, Senator Sanders or whoever’s nominated by the Republicans,” Grassley said.... “Senator Schumer talked about balance and we had balance: four conservatives, four liberals and one moderate and maintaining the balance for the supreme court is just important now it was in 2007,” Grassley says.... “I think that I have a responsibility to perform and I can’t worry about the election,” Grassley said. “I’ve got to do my job as a senator, whatever it is, and there will be a lot of tough votes between now and whenever, between now and the next election. There’s going to be a lot of tough votes, so that isn’t a consideration.”

SEN. COCHRAN STATEMENT ON FILLING U.S. SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Mississippi) 02/16/16
“There is significant precedent for holding a Supreme Court vacancy open through the end of a president’s term in an election year. This is a good policy that has served the nation well and should continue to guide us. I think it is appropriate that the next president be accountable for this nomination.”

Sen. Capito [on Justice Scalia replacement]
(Republican - West Virginia) 02/15/16
“Sen. Capito agrees with Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa] that the next president should nominate Justice Scalia’s replacement,” Capito spokeswoman Ashley Berrang said. “With just a few months until the election and many important issues pending before the court, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice.”

Sen. Toomey [on Supreme Court vacancy]
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 02/15/16
"It makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision. The next court appointment should be made by the newly-elected president," Toomey said. "President Obama insists that he will nominate someone for the Court. He certainly has the authority to do so. But let's be clear - his nominee will be rejected by the Senate."

Sen. Gardner on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Colorado) 02/15/16
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement Monday that President Barack Obama should probably let the winner of the 2016 election pick who fills the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Although the Colorado Republican left open the slight possibility that Congress could confirm an Obama nominee — one "who can win over the majority in the Senate," Gardner said — the first-term senator made clear he likely would stand with his fellow Republicans in blocking any candidate suggested by the White House. "Our country is at a crossroads, and whomever the Senate confirms to occupy the vacancy will have a significant impact on the direction of our country for years to come," Gardner said. ... Said Gardner: "I join Leader McConnell and several of my colleagues in allowing for the American people to play a role in the selection process when they cast their ballots in November."

Sen. McCain [on Supreme Court vacancy]
(Republican - Arizona) 02/15/16
“I believe that we should wait until after the next election and let the American people pick the next president, and we should consider who the next president of the United States nominates,” McCain said on Arizona radio.