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What They're Saying in New Jersey about the Supreme Court Nomination

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

Across the Garden State, people continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. Voices in New Jersey are supporting Senators Menendez and Booker as they call to keep partisanship out of the Supreme Court—and to give Judge Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.

Star-Ledger: Obama Faces GOP Hypocrisy Over Supreme Court Stonewall (Editorial). “Republican leaders want us to believe they are blocking President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court for lofty reasons, for the sake of democracy itself.  ‘Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy,’ says Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).  ‘We should let the American people decide the direction of the court,’ says Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).  Just one problem with this pitch: The American people did have a say. They elected Obama twice, knowing he would have the power to make these nominations.  Republicans are trying to clip a year off that mandate. It's a remarkable feat of hypocrisy from a party that presents itself as strict adherents to the Constitution.  And it raises this question: If they are clipping a year off Obama's term, does the same rule apply to Congress?  Obama on Wednesday chose Merrick Garland, a respected federal judge, who would easily win confirmation in a more sane political time.  He served as a federal prosecutor, and is now a federal appeals court judge. He is not an extremist, and his integrity is beyond question. He has won fulsome praise from leading Republicans in the past.  In 2010, Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) said that Garland would be a ‘consensus nominee’ for the Supreme Court if he had been picked that year. He was confirmed to his current seat on the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals with the support of seven sitting Republicans, enough to win him confirmation.”

New Jersey Law Journal: Garland's Credentials Bona Fide. We Reiterate: Grant a Hearing (Editorial). “Then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch observed, of the 1997 Senate (76-23) confirmation of Garland's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, that no one dared to come to the floor to speak against Garland.... the Senate leader's refusal to even consider the president's nominee is without precedent.... when judges are seen as politicians in robes, confidence in the judiciary suffers. Thus the refusal to hold hearings until after the presidential election will do damage to the courts if it is sustained.... In our view, Barack Obama has proposed an ideal "consensus" candidate. One who has garnered bipartisan support in the past.... Merrick Garland is a judge whose record tells us that he models the kind of search for broad agreement that serves the courts and the country well. If the Senate continues to stonewall his nomination, it will embroil the Supreme Court in partisan combat that threatens confidence in the judiciary, as recent remarks by Chief Justice Roberts suggest. We join many others in urging the Senate to offer its advice and consent to the nomination of Judge Garland.”

North Jersey Record: Politics and courts (Editorial). “U.S. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate; Municipal Court judges are generally named by the local governing body. Yet the bottom line is the same. Judges must pass muster with partisan politicians to ascend to the bench. The institutionalized nature of judicial appointments is a given. What should not be a given are elected officials approaching the judicial review process with only political concerns in mind. That's happening now in Washington and Trenton. U.S. Senate Republicans are refusing to give the president's nominee to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland — a moderate, well-respected jurist by any measure — a hearing. They say they want the next president to fill that spot. Nonetheless, some Republicans, most significantly Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, have met or are planning to meet with Garland.”

North Jersey Record: Obama’s nominee (Editorial). “Wednesday morning in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Obama fulfilled his duty and the oath he took to uphold the Constitution on which this nation is founded: He nominated Merrick Garland, an experienced and, from all indications, a well-rounded jurist, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  In putting forth Garland, the president is upholding the laws upon which this nation stands and the responsibility of the executive branch in our three-branch system of government. Now it is up to the Senate to do the same, to take its responsibility seriously and give this nominee a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote for confirmation.  Obama, a Democrat twice elected, is right to call upon the Senate to act. To do less is to abdicate its responsibility. To do less is to give in to our most cynical political instincts and to set the very responsibility of governing in a democratically elected republic on its head.”