Skip Navigation
Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


Senator's Party
Senator's State
Items 1 - 30 of 352  12345678910Next

Sen. John McCain wants no nukes [no nuclear option for Supreme Court nominations]
(Republican - Arizona) 04/04/17
“I think it’s a dark day in the history of the United States Senate. It’s going to happen. It’s interesting that Republicans were dead set against it when my former colleague Harry Reid invoked it with the judges. But now it seems to be ‘okay.’ What we should have done is what we did in 2005 and that was a group of us got together, 14 of us, and said look we won’t filibuster except in extraordinary conditions. And now, we are so polarized now, including between the two leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, that there’s no communications anymore. But, look, if you can do this with 51 votes, what do you think the next nominee is going to be like? And then what do you think is going to happen when eventually the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, and that’s going to happen sooner or later. I hope later.”

Sen. Collins: "I am not a proponent of changing the rules of the Senate,"
(Republican - Maine) 01/30/17
Republicans potentially have the power to further change the rules so the minority can't even block a Supreme Court nominee. However, it takes 51 votes in the Senate to employ the nuclear option. And Republicans may not have the votes. Already one Republican — Susan Collins of Maine — says don't count on her vote. "I am not a proponent of changing the rules of the Senate," said Collins on Monday evening. "I hope that common sense will prevail and that we will have a normal process for considering this nominee."

Sen. McConnell won't rule out nuclear option for Supreme Court nominee
(Republican - Kentucky) 01/22/17
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday refused to rule out the possibility of invoking the so-called "nuclear option" when confirming the next Supreme Court justice, answering repeated inquiries by expressing confidence on Sunday that President Trump's nominee will get confirmed.... "Let me just say, I'm confident we'll get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed," McConnell said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "I expect an outstanding nominee sometime soon."... "I think it's noteworthy to look at how the Republican minority handled Bill Clinton the first, in his first administration. Both of his first two nominees, Ginsburg and Breyer, no filibuster," McConnell said. "Obama, in his first term, to go, no filibuster. We think our nominee ought to be treated the same way."

Even with GOP in power, Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake want to preserve Senate filibuster
(Republican - Arizona) 12/02/16
Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are saying the Senate, controlled by their fellow Republicans, should not tinker with filibuster rules to ease the path for incoming President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominations and legislative agenda. But McCain, Arizona's senior senator, signaled to The Arizona Republic that he might reconsider his position should Senate Democrats prove intransigent.... "I would like to see us not break the 60-vote rule, but I can't rule out consideration of it if we are just totally gridlocked," McCain said. "But we also have to keep in mind that at no time in history has one party always remained in the majority. That's democracy.... Flake, Arizona's junior senator, was more adamant in his defense of the filibuster. Jettisoning the filibuster for legislation would be particularly damaging to the system and "would change the very nature of the Senate," he said. "As for the agenda, I think we can work with a number of Democrats," Flake said. "We won't always be in the majority and, if you like limited government, I think the filibuster is wise."

Sen. Graham on filibusters of Supreme Court nominees
(Republican - South Carolina) 11/16/16
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., all said Tuesday that they would not support a change to the Senate rules to require a simple majority vote to end a Democratic filibuster for high court nominees.... Graham, after a lengthy press conference with reporters, also said he would likely oppose such a drastic move to limit the Senate's minority power.

Sen. Flake on filibusters of Supreme Court nominees
(Republican - Arizona) 11/16/16
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., all said Tuesday that they would not support a change to the Senate rules to require a simple majority vote to end a Democratic filibuster for high court nominees. "I never wanted to go nuclear – I think we could do it without going nuclear," Flake said in a brief interview about the looming high court fight.

Sen. Corker on filibusters of Supreme Court nominees
(Republican - Tennessee) 11/16/16
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., all said Tuesday that they would not support a change to the Senate rules to require a simple majority vote to end a Democratic filibuster for high court nominees. "I think the filibuster rule has played an important, while it has been abused … has played an important role in seeking again things that will be durable that don't just flip around when there's a change in control and that would not be my first choice," Corker told reporters Tuesday night.

Sen. Toomey demurs on breaking filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 11/12/16
“There do have to some serious conversations among Republican senators. We can’t let the Democrats stop us from functioning,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told a local radio station. But asked if he supported breaking the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, he demurred.

(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. 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.”

(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. 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.”

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."

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. 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."