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What They're Saying in Indiana about the Supreme Court Nomination

Leaders in Indiana are speaking out and telling Senate Republicans to do their job.

Across the state, people from Indiana continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. From academics to local newspapers, voices in Indiana have sounded a disappointed tone in Senator Coats’ decision to inject partisanship into the Supreme Court and in his refusal to carry out certain parts of his job for partisan gain. They have asked Senator Coats to follow Senator Donnelly’s lead, and support hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.

Indiana Law Professors: “Of course, it is entirely appropriate for every senator to thoroughly review Judge Garland’s record and qualifications. But an outright refusal to even consider his nomination runs counter to the Senate’s obligation, under Article II of the Constitution, to provide ‘advice and consent.’ There is no exception that allows senators to withhold advice and consent during a presidential election year, nor is there an insufficient amount of time remaining to complete the confirmation process. Over the past two decades, the longest confirmation process for a Supreme Court nominee lasted 99 days, and President Obama has nearly 300 days remaining in his term.”

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Law professors press support for hearings (Editorial). “Fifty-eight Indiana law professors have signed a letter urging U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, to give Merrick Garland a hearing.  As President Barack Obama’s nominee for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, Garland has become the judicial equivalent of the Maytag repairman, with few Republicans willing even to meet with him. Sen. Joe Donnelly has urged his colleagues to do their jobs, evaluating Garland and voting to confirm or reject him to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The Indiana Democrat, in fact, sat down with the nominee on Monday, a wholly symbolic meeting since the Indiana Democrat is not even on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would have to clear Garland before a vote by the full Senate.  The law group included professors from Indiana University’s Maurer and McKinney Schools of Law, Valparaiso University Law School and the University of Notre Dame Law School.  The letter, sent to Coats on Thursday, noted that Garland ‘has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history,’ and called him ‘an eminently qualified nominee who deserves fair consideration of his nomination. Refusing to do so is an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty to provide advice and consent.’”

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Vacancies highlight ideological inconsistency (Editorial). “Of course, one could make exactly the same argument about a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Barack Obama was (re)elected in 2012, and it is his duty, like Pence’s, to see that nominees are submitted to fill court vacancies. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing even to consider Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, on the grounds that the next president should select the nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Well, that’s Washington politics vs. Hoosier common sense for you. Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, for instance, has from the start insisted that he and his fellow senators would not be doing their jobs if they refused to hold confirmation hearings and vote on a Supreme Court nominee. But wait! Indiana’s other senator, Dan Coats, who was one of the majority of Senate Republicans who voted to confirm Garland for the U.S. Court of Appeals Washington D.C. Circuit in 1997, now argues that this Coats-certified judge shouldn’t even have a chance to be considered by the Senate.  That whole ‘let the people decide’ thing, you see.  It’s a good thing Sen. Coats isn’t involved in the state Supreme Court selection procedure. He might end up looking inconsistent.”

Kokomo Tribune: Senators, do your job (Editorial). “True to its word, the GOP establishment has promised to hold firm on its stance that no justices should be chosen for Scalia’s seat until the American people make their voices heard in the November general election. (Never mind the fact this appears nowhere in the Constitution, and Obama has nearly a year left in his term. Senators also seem to disregard the fact the American people, by millions of votes, made their choice for Obama as president in both 2008 and 2012.)  What the GOP Senate majority seems to be banking on is a Republican presidential victory, which would then allow it to steal this obligation from Obama and stack the court in a more conservative direction. But let’s follow the logic to its conclusion: Say the Republicans don’t win the presidency and either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders were to become chief executive. Do you think they’d be inclined to pick a moderate in that case? Of course not. They may as well pick the most liberal jurist they can find, as the Republicans would have given them the indication they had nothing to lose by compromising. Say what you want about Garland, Obama could have picked someone who leans much more to the left than he. The fact the Senate is refusing to even give the man an up or down vote is a shocking dereliction of duty.  But don’t take our word for it.”

Evansville Courier & Press: GOP Is Playing Dangerous Game Of Obstruction (Editorial). “The stubborn refusal of Senate Republicans to consider any Supreme Court nominee offered by President Barack Obama would be outrageous, regardless of whom the president selected to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia. But Obama's announcement Wednesday that he will nominate Merrick Garland, a moderate federal appeals court judge who has won bipartisan praise during a long and distinguished legal career, puts the Republicans' irresponsibility and cheap partisanship in even starker relief.”

Herald Times: Court Nominee Deserves Full Hearing, Vote (Editorial). “With all due respect to Indiana’s two U.S. Senators, Joe Donnelly is right and Dan Coats is wrong on filling the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Obama on Wednesday announced his nomination of Federal appeals court judge Merrick Brian Garland to fill the court’s vacancy caused by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.”