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

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

Across the state, people in New Mexico continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. From local newspapers to elected officials, New Mexico voices are supporting Senators Udall and Heinrich as they call to keep partisanship out of the Supreme Court—and to give Judge Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.

Santa Fe New Mexican: Senate needs to do its job (Editorial). “Over the course of our nation’s history, scholars say, there have been 24 election-year nominees, with 21 of those confirmed. There is no precedent for refusing to consider a nomination outright. That is a fiction created by Republicans who don’t want to lose their conservative majority on the court; if, as they hope, a GOP president takes office in January, the tie-breaking appointment would go to him, rather than President Obama. But only if they delay, delay, delay. Any delay would have a cost, leaving the nation’s highest court short-handed as it considers important matters of law. Experts figure a delay until the next presidential term could leave only eight justices to consider more than 120 cases; many of those cases would be split along 4-4 lines. When that happens, no uniform law is set for the entire country, a primary responsibility of the Supreme Court. That’s unnecessary. A presidential term is four, not three years. The president just did his job and made a thoughtful, qualified nomination for the court. Now, it’s up to the Senate to stop playing politics and do its job.”

Santa Fe New Mexican: Scalia vacancy should be filled (Editorial). “Obama is the president until January 2017, and he must do his Constitutional duty. The Senate, of course, is similarly tasked under the Constitution to ‘advise and consent,’ and it appears the advice of the majority is to do nothing. That will be seen for what it is, political grandstanding to stop the legitimately elected president from carrying out his duties. It may well succeed as a move to block an appointment but as politics, this could hurt Republicans. Voters want Congress to do its job. That means passing laws and it means confirming essential appointees. The job of senators is not to maintain a particular ideological majority on the court. It is to consider and confirm the president’s appointments — or reject them, should they be found lacking. Not conducting hearings and holding the court and the country hostage is politics at its worst.”

Sen. Tom Udall: “After all senators have had the appropriate time to consider him, I hope that we each will be able to cast a vote - up or down - about whether to confirm him to the U.S. Supreme Court. Few of the Senate's constitutional duties are more important than offering our advice and consent on Supreme Court nominations. That's why I have been deeply disappointed by the Senate Majority's refusal so far even to hold hearings on any nominee by President Obama. The Senate has always voted on every pending nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy, even when the nomination is made in the last months of a president's term. To say that the president's nominee doesn't even deserve a hearing is an example of Senate dysfunction and partisan politics at their very worst. The president has done his job, and it's time for the Senate to do ours.”

Albuquerque Journal: Senate should conduct Supreme Court hearings (Editorial). “Certainly, there is political hypocrisy on display by all the politicians concerned, from the president on through Congress. And no one can claim the high ground in Supreme Court jockeying, including members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation. No one should take seriously the suggestion that if the tables were turned and that a President Bush – or Trump – was making the nomination under the exact same circumstances that Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich would be doing anything different than McConnell is now. In fact, Senate Republicans are citing “the Biden rule” referring to the current vice president’s position against acting on a potential nomination when he was a U.S. senator during the last year of the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Democrats ruled the Senate at that time. But the bottom line is this: Senate Republicans who are in power have the opportunity to do what is right and show an already angry, distrustful population that we indeed are a nation of laws and that the judiciary can and should be above politics. That’s what they should do. It’s time to get the process for filling vacancies on the Supreme Court back on the right track. Conduct hearings. Make a decision.”