Sen. Vitter: ICYMI: No Hearings For Any Obama SCOTUS Nominees (Videos)
(Republican - Louisiana)
Senator David Vitter (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, explains why the Committee’s Republican members will be exercising their constitutional authority to withhold consent of a Supreme Court nomination and will not hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee until the next President is sworn in.
Sen. Collins on filling Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Maine)
“This is a very serious issue,” Sen. Susan Collins said in a telephone interview Thursday from Washington, D.C. “This isn’t deciding whether this should be National Apple Pie Week.” “For anyone to say, no matter who is sent up by the president as his nominee, that we will not consider that person, does not strike me as consistent with our constitutional obligations.” “Is the leadership happy with me right now? Decidedly not,” Collins said. “But they know that there will be other times when I agree with their position. And they also know by now that I just have to do what I think is right.” “I thought it was a shame … that instead of honoring his life and legacy and extending our condolences (to Scalia’s grieving family), already we were embroiled in a political fight,’ she said. “And I’ll tell you, I heard widespread support for my making that point.” “Democrats as well as Republicans have been guilty of this in the past,” Collins said. “I think we need to get beyond that and back to the institutional roles that the Constitution intends for us to play.”
Collins got a call from Biden this week. Not to twist her arm, but rather just to “touch base.”
“The only point I made was they need to send up a nominee who is in the mainstream, who has impeccable credentials and is a person of integrity with great respect for the Constitution and the rule of law,” Collins said. “I’ve voted for some, I’ve opposed others,” she said. “But it can’t be a reflexive decision that is made before we even know who the candidate is going to be. That is not the way our system should work.” “I’m sure in a few days the leader will be speaking to me again,” Collins mused.
Sen. Toomey urges Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley to hold vote on two Pennsylvania district court nominees
(Republican - Pennsylvania)
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, has asked for the approval of two federal district court nominees who had been held over from the last committee vote.
In a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Toomey implored committee members to "honor the bipartisan tradition" he and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Bob Casey, had established in nominating judges. ... "To date, these nominations unfortunately still remain pending before your committee, and I want to again urge you to bring these nominees up for a vote and favorably report them for consideration by the full Senate," Toomey wrote.
Sen. Grassley Floor statement: WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES RULE AND FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Iowa)
"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)
"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. Blunt Floor Statement: REMEMBERING JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA AND FILLING THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Missouri)
"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)
"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. Flake: No Scalia Replacement This Year
(Republican - Arizona)
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. Mark Kirk: Scalia replacement must 'bridge differences'
(Republican - Illinois)
"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)
"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)
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. McCain defends his opposition to Obama on Supreme Court pick
(Republican - Arizona)
"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.
Oklahoma senators want state judicial nominees to advance, even if Supreme Court process stalls
(Republican - Oklahoma)
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. Coats says court nominee deserves Senate hearing
(Republican - Indiana)
“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)
"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. Risch on President Obama and Filling Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Idaho)
"We’re going to get beat up over the thing, I think. And I can’t fathom that he’s going to appoint a person that will put this thing back in balance again, 4-4-1. So if he knocks it out of balance, I know what I’m going to do....I will be surprised if we see anybody standing up in a black robe taking an oath to the Supreme Court between now and Jan. 20, 2017."
Sen. Ben Sasse to President: You and Nominee Must Reject Pen and Phone
(Republican - Nebraska)
[VIDEO] "Mr. President, I'm here to provide you some advice on how you would get my consent: nominate someone who will publicly repudiate your executive unilateralism. Mr. President, you and your nominee must reject your "pen and phone” theories."
Sen. Risch on filling Idaho U.S. district court vacancy
(Republican - Idaho)
"I’ve been really critical of a lot of things that Obama does, but let me say this. We met with the White House shortly after that vacancy was announced, and the White House has treated us with nothing but absolute respect and good will and good faith as far as trying to pick the person who will fill that seat. It is difficult, because we have a different view, and so there have been many, many conversations back and forth. We are very, very close to being able to identify someone who is going to go the distance, we believe."
Sen. Crapo on ID federal court judicial emergency and efforts to fill vacancy and create new judgeship
(Republican - Idaho)
"Sen. Risch and I are working very closely with the White House to vet the different candidates and applicants for this position," Senator Crapo told us on Wednesday.
He says he understands the urgent need to appoint a new federal judge, but told us he couldn't go into specifics about the nomination process. All he would say is that the two senators are looking at qualified Idahoans to fill the opening.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss specific names at this point in time, but what I can tell you is that we have a good working relationship with the White House," added Crapo.... "As you know our politics are a little different and so there is a little bit of discussion and debate that goes on there," said Crapo.
Still, the U.S. senator insists he and Risch are doing everything they can to move the nomination process forward.
"We're working closely together and my hope is that we will be able to reach an announcement soon," he said.
Crapo says he and Sen. Risch continue to push for Congress to create a third U.S. district judge position in Idaho. He says it's much needed based on population and caseload.
Sen. Murkowski on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Alaska)
"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. Ron Johnson on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Wisconsin)
"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)
"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. Collins on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Maine)
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. Heller Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - Nevada)
“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. COCHRAN STATEMENT ON FILLING U.S. SUPREME COURT VACANCY
(Republican - Mississippi)
“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. Wicker: Next President Should Choose Scalia Replacement
(Republican - Mississippi)
“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)
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.”