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

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

Across the state, Kansans continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. Voices in Kansas have sounded a disappointed tone in Senators Roberts and Moran’s decision to inject partisanship into the Supreme Court and in their refusal to carry out certain parts of their jobs for partisan gain.

Topeka Capital-Journal: Jerry Moran's Reversal A Disappointment (Editorial). “Confused? You aren’t alone.  Moran’s dizzying vacillations are difficult for anyone to follow. First, he was against hearings. Then he grudgingly decided to support them. Now he’s adamantly opposed.  When Moran first declared his willingness to hold hearings, he insisted that President Obama would fail to nominate ‘somebody that meets my criteria.’ However, he had enough respect for his constituents and colleagues to let the confirmation process take place.  But Moran’s principled opposition to the GOP establishment quickly faded, and his political ‘criteria’ superseded his responsibilities as a senator.  As we have stated on this page several times before, Kansas has a long history of statesmanship. Leaders from both major parties have represented us in Washington and Topeka by setting aside partisan antipathy and acting in a way that made us proud to call them Kansans.  Between the moment when Moran made his statement in Cimarron on March 21 and when he retracted it on April 1, the freshman senator was upholding this proud history.  Since then, he has become yet another symbol of the partisan rancor that afflicts Washington. Given a chance to take a stand for reasonable governance, Moran took the easy path and faltered on his commitment to his constituents.  As we noted in our editorial last month, Moran and his fellow Senate Republicans are taking a political gamble by delaying hearings until after the elections in November.  But statesmen don’t abdicate their job duties to make political bets. They don’t ignore their role as senators at the behest of opportunistic party leaders.  Moran had an opportunity to follow the path of great Kansas leaders before him. Instead, he followed the party line.”

Garden City Telegram: Moran’s Take: Tea-party faithful overreact to Kansas senator’s thoughts (Editorial): “Still, conservative groups turned on Moran with a vengeance, which begs the question: What’s to fear in hearings and a vote on confirmation?  Once hit with the criticism, Moran argued he had a duty to ask tough questions and demand answers of Obama’s nominee, as a way to ‘expose Judge Garland’s record and judicial philosophy, and disqualify him in the eyes of Kansans and Americans.’  But Garland is far from liberal (some Democrats decried Obama’s choice). Garland also was confirmed for his current federal bench post with high praise from conservative Republicans.  Republicans’ mistake was in declaring its opposition before a nominee even was named.  They want the Supreme Court vacancy to help build support for their side in this year’s general election. With a GOP in disarray, such a strategy likely would backfire.  U.S. senators should, as Moran said, just do their job.”

Lawrence Journal World: Political paralysis (Editorial). “What kind of precedent would be set by the Senate refusing to consider Garland’s nomination? Obama had 342 days remaining in his term when Justice Scalia died. If that’s too short a time, what is the limit? A year? Two years? How long should politics keep a seat on the Supreme Court empty?  Republicans are pointing to the ‘Biden rule’ which harkens back to remarks Vice President Joe Biden made in 1992 arguing against considering any Supreme Court nominations at the end of President George Bush’s term. There were no vacancies on the court or nominations to consider at that point, but maybe Democrats would have followed the same course as Republicans now are taking. Democrats did employ hard-ball tactics in rejecting the appointment of Robert Bork to the court in 1987.  Is this just a high-stakes game of tit for tat? If so, how can the nation break that cycle? Garland is a nominee who, in all likelihood, would have been easily confirmed in a more statesman-like time. Americans need look no further than the current presidential election to see voters’ dissatisfaction with a federal government that puts political agendas ahead of the nation’s welfare. It’s little wonder they are looking for a change.”

Topeka Capital-Journal: Roberts, Moran have a duty to consider the president's Supreme Court nominee (Editorial). “‘(The president) shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court ... ‘That is contained in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Since it was ratified 226 years ago, it has clearly outlined how U.S. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president and voted on by the Senate.  But on Wednesday, both U.S. senators from Kansas announced they were no longer interested in abiding by those words. Instead, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have decided they have no interest in advising or consenting to President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court.  Furthermore, in a moment of baffling irony and hypocrisy, Roberts actually accused Obama of acting undemocratically. ‘By nominating a replacement for Justice Scalia, President Obama is attempting to deny the American people a voice on the next Supreme Court justice,’ he said in a statement.  The American people re-elected Obama in 2012 to do the duties of a president. As the Constitution clearly states, nominating Supreme Court justices is a duty of the president.  The people of Kansas elected Roberts in 2014 and Moran in 2010 to do the duties of senators. As the Constitution clearly states, considering Supreme Court nominees is a duty of the senators.  Obama has done his duty. Now it’s time for Roberts and Moran to do theirs.”

Wichita Eagle: Don’t wait a year to fill Supreme Court opening (Editorial). “The entire Kansas delegation in the House also favors the planned pause in the Senate’s constitutional ‘advice and consent’ responsibility, with Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, saying in a statement that ‘Kansans and Americans should have a voice in determining the future direction of the court and our country.’  But the president’s term and constitutional obligations won’t end for another 10 months. And when a president’s Supreme Court nominees have the education and experience to make them highly qualified – as Garland does – they deserve Senate confirmation.”