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. 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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. 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. Grassley hasn’t decided whether to hold hearing on Obama’s Supreme Court pick
(Republican - Iowa)
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. Capito [on Justice Scalia replacement]
(Republican - West Virginia)
“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. Gardner on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Colorado)
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. Toomey Releases Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - Pennsylvania)
"I have long stated my belief that objective qualifications and adherence to the rule of law should matter more than ideology when it comes to judicial appointments. I have acted accordingly, working closely with Senator Bob Casey on filling 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania and supporting numerous appointments by President Obama, including his appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
"The current vacancy on the Supreme Court, following the tragic death of Justice Antonin Scalia, however, presents an unusual context. In the final year of a presidency, it is common for vacancies that arise on the Supreme Court to await the outcome of the next election. Given that we are already well into the presidential election process and that the Supreme Court appointment is for a lifetime, 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. If that new president is not a member of my party, I will take the same objective non-partisan approach to that nominee as I have always done.
"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. In addition to the normally high level of scrutiny accorded to a Supreme Court nominee, this nominee would have to pass an additional level of scrutiny, which is the question of whether he or she ought to receive a lifetime appointment this year, when one could be made with a broad public stamp of approval less than a year later. That is a standard no nominee is likely to be able to meet.
"It has been less than 72 hours since Justice Scalia's passing. There has already been too much politicking around the issue of his replacement. This decision should not be rushed, and it should not be made amid the clamoring of a presidential election season. We should honor Justice Scalia's legacy, and we should put off a decision on his replacement until the newly-elected president can make his or her choice."
Sen. Shelby Statement on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
(Republican - Alabama)
“This great loss brings on a great responsibility for the United States Senate. Justice Scalia’s replacement should be considered carefully and thoughtfully because it is vital to our nation’s future that we confirm a justice who will continue his legacy. I will adamantly oppose any attempt by President Obama to fill this vacancy during the remainder of his term.”
Sen. McConnell on passing of Justice Antonin Scalia
(Republican - Kentucky)
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
SEN. SESSIONS COMMENTS ON PASSING OF ANTONIN SCALIA
(Republican - Alabama)
"It is wrong to view the Court’s division as a matter of politics, at least for the orthodox judges. They found their judgment on law not politics. It is our responsibility to the American people and our Constitutional heritage to ensure that Justice Scalia’s legacy on the Court is carried on.”
Sen. Grassley Statement on Justice Scalia
(Republican - Iowa)
“The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year. Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this President, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”