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

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

Across the state, Montanans continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. Montana voices have sounded a disappointed tone in Senator Daines’ 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 Daines to follow Senator Tester’s lead, and support hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.

Billings Gazette: Sen. Daines, do your job (Editorial). “What would your boss do if you refused to do your job? Then, what would happen if after refusing to do it, you proudly proclaimed it on email, social media and to anyone who would listen?  That’s exactly what Montana Sen. Steve Daines did Wednesday after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  Daines’ constitutional oath — the same one he swore upon a Bible to uphold — obligates him to consider Garland. It doesn’t mean that he has to vote in favor of any candidate. But, at the very least, Daines should thoughtfully consider Garland’s judicial record. To refuse to do that makes Daines nothing more than a partisan shill who is putting his own political interests above his constitutional duty.  So, the next time Daines invokes the Constitution, ask him why he only wants to uphold those parts he agrees with. This shouldn’t be a pick-and-choose what laws we like, especially when it comes to the cornerstone of our legal system, the Constitution. Actions like this make us believe his loyalty is more to the Republican leadership of the Senate than to the Constitution.  Daines seemed oddly and proudly defiant Wednesday, boasting that he’s not going to consider the nominee. Why brag that you’re not going to uphold a promise to do your job? Again, the answer to that is probably found in politics: This will play well with a riled-up base, but it’s pandering and a dereliction of duties.  If Daines breaks his oath and refuses to do his job, how else is he selling Montana short? If he’s willing to compromise on the Constitution, is there anything that we can count on him for?”

Montana Standard: Daines, Zinke pander to politics with statements on Supreme Court nominee (Editorial). “And while we’re asking, must Montana be subjected to the same hack politics that afflicts the rest of the country?  Judging from our Republican lawmakers’ reaction to the president’s nomination of an absolutely impeccable candidate to the Supreme Court, apparently the answer is yes.  Sen. Steve Daines chose politics over doing his job when he marched in lockstep with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and pompously announced that he would not even meet with Merrick Garland, a centrist and a formidable legal scholar who has been almost universally praised for his judgment, hard work, judicial temperament and even-handedness….It’s interesting that Republican senators deemed most vulnerable – Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark Kirk of Illinois – have agreed to meet with Garland. They must understand that the voters want jobs done, not politics played.  If Trump or Cruz is beaten as soundly as polling suggests they would be in a general election, Senate Republicans may well find themselves back in the minority, unable to stop a Supreme Court nominee far less palatable to them than Garland would be. Right now, it appears they are willing to play that political Russian roulette, with the option of confirming Garland in the lame duck session after the election and before a new President takes office.  That’s a pretty shoddy way to do business. And nobody should be confused as to who is shirking their Constitutional responsibilities.”  

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Daines, Senate should consider court nominee (Editorial). “This is nothing but an abdication of responsibility and another example of the kind of playground-level obstruction that has soured so many Americans on Congress and contributed to the divisive meltdown in the race for the GOP nomination for president. Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines can — and most certainly should — break from that lockstep of obstructionism and urge his colleagues to at least give the nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing and a floor vote. If Daines, or any other senators, find Garland to be poor choice for the high court, then they can vote against his confirmation. But they owe it to the American people to at least conduct hearings and articulate their reasons for rejecting the nominee.”

Billings Gazette: Daines’ politicking epitomizes what’s wrong with Congress (Editorial). “His obligation — his oath — to uphold the Constitution says that he will advise and consent on judicial nominations. Nowhere does it say delay and deny. If Daines is so worried about equal access and so concerned about the backlog, then wouldn't he want to ensure the highest, most powerful court in the land be ready and able to handle the caseload? If Daines and fellow Republicans get their way, it could set up a loggerheaded court with split decisions. This could set the court back years, on top of already backlogged courts. It seems almost unbelievable to us that Daines could sponsor legislation to speed up the courts while simultaneously wanting to stall and delay.”