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

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

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

New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus: “As is his Constitutional duty, the president has appropriately nominated an unquestionably high-qualified jurist to fill this vacancy. ‘By intentionally failing to perform their role to advise and consent, the Republican majority in the Senate has chosen to politicize a process that should be bipartisan and beyond the reach of the politics of obstruction and intransigence,’ said Chairman Perry. ‘Americans should not allow the Senate Republicans to delegitimize the office of the president as they sit idly by and dream of a Republican in the White House nine months from now.’”

Binta Brown, CEO of Fermata Entertainment Ltd. and founder of Big Mouth Records: “More than the uncertainty associated with any particular set of decisions, although I am worried about that, I'm more concerned by the uncertainty caused by the degradation of the rule of law when lawmakers refuse to do their jobs. We rely on presidents to fulfill their constitutional duty, and Congress to do the same; a well-functioning government is essential to the certainty and security of entrepreneurs and business owners. The refusal to even hold a vote simply results in greater insecurity and less confidence.”

Thomas Grech, Executive Director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce: “It is clearly an important and vital role to fill; further gridlock in Washington, no matter the branch of government, only serves to undermine progress. The business world waits for no one; this potential impediment would surely have a negative outcome for business.”

John Gordon, President of USA Corporate Services, Inc.: “The stalling of the hearings for the replacement Justice of the Supreme Court is naked partisanship at its worst, and creates a precedent for either party to do this again in the future. U.S. businesses need to have a level playing field and minimized risk in order to be successful in domestic and world markets. The Senate should do its job, hold its hearings, and give the new nominee the up-or-down vote mandated in the Constitution.”

Nadine Cino, CEO of TygaBox Systems Inc.: “I believe we should fill the Supreme Court vacancy as quickly as possible, as it is important for the legal due process of our country to continue to move in an unimpeded manner absent politics.”

Ruth Mendes, President of Wordcraft & Graphics, Unlimited: “Our business community is affected by the way our federal government functions at many levels. Checks and balances are fundamental. With the Supreme Court functioning at less than full capacity, we are not operating equitably. Please proceed with the process of filling this vacancy in a responsible and speedy way.”

Pamela Cooper, Owner of In Bloom Floral and Gifts, LLC: “The American people elected President Obama (twice!), and he has not only the right, but an obligation, to fill Supreme Court vacancies, just as the Senate has an obligation to confirm one of his choices. Our economy cannot afford these ridiculous distractions.”

Susan Guditus, Co-Owner of Powerhouse Industries: “I believe that those in the Senate are reprehensible in their continued efforts to thwart the President from being able to do his job. Let history show their reckless abandon to ever having done the right thing.”

NY Daily News: GOP Senate Keeps Playing Games With Obama's Supreme Court Pick (Editorial). “Which means that 18 GOP senators are more than happy to waste the time of an esteemed federal judge — all to pretend to care about what he has to say, even as Senate Republicans have ruled out giving him a hearing or a vote.  A half dozen Republican senators have already participated in the cynical farce.  On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley spent 70 minutes with the judge in the Senate dining room. On Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is set to receive Garland ‘out of courtesy and respect.’  There is neither courtesy nor respect in empty ceremony. Clearly, nothing that Garland, Obama or the American people can say or do to prompt the Republicans to budge before the election.  Four had expressed openness to fulfilling the Senate’s duty to consider and confirm or reject a presidential Supreme Court nominee, with two of them only to reverse themselves to close partisan ranks.  Speaking for his caucus, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says plugging ears and saying ‘la la la, I’m not listening’ is a matter of high principle. Since voters will speak in the November election, he says the Senate should save the nomination for a new President.  (Watch how quickly McConnell abandons his supposed principle if and Hillary Clinton wins the Oval Office. Fearing a nominee to the left of centrist Garland, the Republicans will surely rush him onto the bench.)  The ways of Washington have rarely been as transparently false.”

Newsday: GOP Senators Dishonor The Supreme Court And Themselves (Editorial). “The Senate should hold confirmation hearings and vote on the nomination. If Garland loses, then that, too, is how politics properly shapes the court. Instead, McConnell refuses to even meet Garland. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, was more insulting. ‘I can barely schedule a call with my son’s math teacher yesterday, so probably no,’ Blunt said.  But it’s Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch who best embodies the absurdity of Washington. He had previously said he would confirm this nominee, and just last week praised Garland as a moderate. Wednesday morning, Hatch said, ‘It’s a question of the toxicity of this climate. I’m sick and tired of having Supreme Court nominations processes in this politicized atmosphere. It demeans the court, demeans the whole judicial system.’ Later in the day, Hatch said he was open to a post-election hearing on Garland.  Senate Republicans are calling this a fight about principle. They are right. An enduring principle of our government is that a sitting president makes nominations to the Supreme Court and the Senate decides whether to confirm those choices. Senators who refuse to take part in the process dishonor themselves, their chamber and the very Supreme Court they claim to protect.”

NY Daily News: Merrick Garland deserves a hearing and a vote: President Obama has nominated a broadly respected, centrist jurist to the Supreme Court (Editorial). “In flat-out rejecting within minutes to even consider the nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are breaching their sworn duty, leaving the court with a vacancy for a year or more following Antonin Scalia’s death last month.  President Obama’s choice of Garland, a highly qualified judge who is squarely in the mainstream of American jurisprudence, is in line with the best tradition of finding the finest legal minds for the nation’s highest court.  McConnell’s over-my-dead-body partisanship, fully backed by his GOP colleagues, comes in the worst tradition of politics interfering with the work of government. Their obstruction cannot stand.”

Buffalo News: Deadlock on key case demonstrates why Supreme Court seat needs to be filled (Editorial). “The president has nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland to fill the vacancy. While he appears to have the credentials for the Supreme Court, it is up to the Senate to consider his fitness for the post by holding hearings and eventually a vote. However, Senate Republicans refuse to even take up the nomination. Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he would be open to holding hearings on Garland – after the election. Disappointing. Garland is far from a liberal firebrand. He received wide Republican support in his confirmation to the Court of Appeals. Republicans are worried that Garland will tip the court to the left. They want the next president to make the selection, as Democrats probably would want if the situation were reversed. While that may appear to be smart politics, it’s constitutionally flawed and will hamper the court’s ability to carry out its job. By the time another candidate is nominated by the next president and confirmed, nearly all of the Supreme Court term that starts this fall will be over, subjecting the nation to the possibility of a year of 4-4 votes on key issues. Senate Republicans need to do their job and consider Garland’s nomination.”

Albany Times Union: The Senate's Dereliction (Editorial). “Never mind that we have a president right now, chosen by the people. Since Mr. McConnell failed in his top priority — to deny Mr. Obama a second term — he decided to try to render the Democrat as powerless as possible. So, in Mr. McConnell's republic, Mr. Obama gets only three-fourths of a term. And the NRA gets a veto.  As a result, the judicial branch is hobbled by the same ideological gridlock that has crippled the other two. Thank you, Republican Party.  Two weeks ago, the high court tied 4-4 on a case over whether two wives who had signed on as guarantors on their husbands' loan could be held financially responsible for the failure of their spouses' real estate venture. The tie leaves conflicting lower court rulings in place, creating different rules of law in different parts of the U.S.  And last week, in a widely-watched case, the court again tied on whether non-union public employees who benefit from union-negotiated contracts must pay to cover their share of the union's costs for collective bargaining. The case argued such ‘agency fees’ infringe on rights of free speech and free association. So the fees remain legal, for now.  There's more uncertainty to come, on birth control, abortion and religious freedom. With the court evenly split between conservative- and liberal-leaning justices, it's likely such issues will be left in legal limbo at best, and subject to conflicting rulings in different parts of the country at worst. Citizens will effectively be subject to unequal treatment under the law, depending on where they live.  These offenses to the Constitution mount as Mr. McConnell refuses to let the Senate fulfill its role of advice and consent. Some Republicans say the Senate should consider Mr. Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a moderate choice. Conspicuously, a number of those senators are up for re-election this year. They seem to realize that many voters won't tolerate this dereliction of duty.  If Mr. McConnell fears his party will be overtaken by the fringe, his first step should be to come back from it himself, and let the Senate do its job.”

Times Herald-Record: Give the nominee a hearing and a vote (Editorial). “Hours after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court created by the death of Antonin Scalia, the NRA objected. It released a statement that Garland ‘does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.’ Therefore, it opposes his nomination. That’s what we do when a president nominates somebody to this important job. We consider the credentials and support or oppose. We do not, as the Republicans in the U.S. Senate are doing, shut the door and refuse to come out. We never have. Ever since the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, unveiled this unprecedented strategy within hours of Scalia’s death, we have been having a distorted national conversation similar to so many others in this odd election year, centered on facts that turn out to be fiction.”

El Diario: The Senate must consider Garland’s nomination (Editorial). “Republican lawmakers decided that, for them, Obama’s presidency is over—and demonstrated it with what they did with the White House’s budget. Now, by choosing not to consider a Supreme Court nominee, they’re deciding not to let the court function properly for at least nine months. This latter move will be a waste of time, because many of the cases that get heard will have to be repeated once the court is complete.  It is unusual that Congress—where both the institution and its constitutional powers have very low popularity—is the one preventing the executive and judicial branches from operating fully. It is outrageous that lawmakers with an extremely low approval rate among Americans because of their inability to do their jobs, are now taking over a job that isn’t theirs and representing those Americans.  The White House, far from nominating a liberal judge, selected Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the country’s most important positions. Garland’s background is impeccable, and while his opinions are not like Scalia’s, he has conservative leanings—with some exceptions, like firearms.  If the situation were different, the Republican-majority Senate, which in the past only had good things to say about Garland, would have confirmed him quickly. If the situation were different, Obama would have probably appointed a more liberal nominee. However, direct opposition in Congress and the state of affairs in Washington required someone who is acceptable to everyone. The president did his part. Now the Senate must stop searching for excuses not to fulfill its obligations, and consider Garland’s nomination.”