As the Majority Leader of the Senate, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has the singular ability to decide whether Judge Garland’s nomination will have a vote on the Senate floor. Yet he set a partisan tone early on when he announced that he and his caucus would not support – or even consider – any nominee the President put forward.
Across the state, people in Kentucky continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. From elected officials, to civil rights leaders, to local newspapers, Kentucky residents have sounded a disappointed tone in Senators McConnell and Paul’s decision to inject partisanship into the Supreme Court and in their refusal to carry out certain parts of their jobs for partisan gain.
NAACP Kentucky: “We are appalled by what we view – and what we understand a majority of Americans view – as a significant partisan overreach that began with your announcement less than one day after Justice Scalia’s death that you will not consider any nominee by President Barack Obama to replace him. As a highly publicized letter by the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee claims, there is resistance to hold a hearing on – or to even meet with – any potential nominee. This is a clear refusal of Senators to perform their constitutional duties. And it is completely unacceptable.”
State Sen. Morgan McGarvey: “‘This is nothing more than a political stunt by the Republican majority to drive their base to the polls in November. That’s what this is about.’ McGarvey agreed with Weaver that the Senate is under no constitutional obligation to consider a nominee. He disagreed on what precedence dictates, however. McGarvey said since 1955, all nominees have received a hearing unless they were withdrawn by the president himself. The average time from nomination to hearing since 1967 has been 50 days. By refusing to uphold the last 60 years of standard practice in at least holding a hearing, McGarvey said the GOP is setting a dangerous new precedent. McGarvey did not insist that Garland be confirmed, only that the Senate consider him. ‘At what point is it too arbitrary? When there’s two years left in a President’s term? Three years?’”
The Morehead News: Republicans grab Scalia death for politics (Editorial). “Even though President Obama is a month into his eighth and final year in office, his constitutional authority remains intact. Perhaps Sen. McConnell and his GOP pals don’t understand that controlling both houses of Congress still doesn’t give them power over the executive or judicial branches of government. We realize the Scalia replacement could impact the court’s philosophical balance but the Constitution says plainly the president in office when a seat opens must nominate a replacement.”
Lexington Herald Leader: McConnell supremely embarrassing (Editorial). “The Constitution most certainly says nothing about delaying a Supreme Court nomination until after an election. In fact, McConnell voted to confirm Justice Anthony Kennedy in Ronald Reagan’s last year as president. The average time from the nomination of a justice to a final Senate vote is 67 days. Obama should get on with naming a nominee. McConnell should be embarrassed.”