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

Summary: 
Leaders in Ohio are speaking out and telling Senate Republicans to do their job.

Across the state, Ohioans continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. From business leaders to local newspapers, Ohio voices have sounded a disappointed tone in Senator Portman’s 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 Portman to follow Senator Brown’s lead, and support hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.

Ohio Sustainable Business Council: “We expect our Senators to hear the qualifications of Judge Garland and consider his nomination fairly in an up-or-down vote. Our highest court should not be held hostage by politics. In 1988, during the Kennedy confirmation process, President Reagan said, ‘the federal judiciary is too important to be made a political football.’ He understood the duty that Senators have to the process and the importance of having nine justices on the Supreme Court. At this time we do not take a position as to Judge Garland's qualifications for the court, and leave this for the Senate to decide. Our economy, however, depends on a functioning legal system, and we in Ohio are counting on you to be the voice of leadership in the midst of obstructionist politics. On behalf of our business members in Ohio, we urge you to begin the process of giving Merrick Garland a hearing.”

Steve Jones, President of Green Energy Enterprises: “The immediate impact of the vacancy on my business would be limited. The impact on my business and our customers will be the uncertainty brought on by Congress’s inability to complete another task.”

Rhonda Hills, General Partner at Precizion Painting Plus: “It is unconstitutional and morally deficient to leave a vacancy in the highest court in the land. And that's bad for business.”

Chandrasekaran Pillai, CFO of Quantum Polymer: “My business will be hardly affected, but my faith in the U.S. Supreme Court's impartiality in interpreting the Constitution and the laws will be.”

J. Carson, Owner of Insurance Diversified Agency, Inc.: “Whenever any entity is short staffed, the remaining members must share an increased workload. In today's world that could lead to inadequate preparation and poor decisions. I believe the Senate should hold the required hearings and then make a decision on the nominee. This would be best for my business and our nation.”

Toledo Blade: Judge the person (Editorial). “Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is a Supreme Court nominee almost too good to be true.  Judge Garland is from the heartland (Chicago). He went to Harvard on a scholarship and was the class valedictorian. He then attended Harvard Law School.  Judge Merrick Garland is a deeply thoughtful jurist and a moderate one. He believes profoundly in constitutional protections but also in the legitimacy of national security concerns. He is similarly nuanced and balanced about the rights and duties of police officers. Judge Merrick Garland is a deeply thoughtful jurist and a moderate one. He believes profoundly in constitutional protections but also in the legitimacy of national security concerns. He is similarly nuanced and balanced about the rights and duties of police officers…..  The judge, by all accounts, is a deeply thoughtful jurist and a moderate one. He believes profoundly in constitutional protections but also in the legitimacy of national security concerns. He is similarly nuanced and balanced about the rights and duties of police officers.  Merrick Garland tutors inner city children. He can work cordially and collegially with those who see the law and life very differently than he does. He is able to negotiate the viper’s nest of Washington with great skill, yet without being sullied by it. And he is, according to those who know him, just a nice guy — genuinely, and, for such a gifted person, astonishingly, humble.  Would that we had a presidential candidate so well prepared and whole. Judge Garland is so right for this job that he seems almost a computer model or the creation of a novelist. As icing on the cake, there is his age. Judge Garland is 63. So he probably won’t be tying up his seat for 35 or 40 years.  The President could not have come up with a better nominee — a man widely praised by Republicans as well as Democrats in the past.”

Columbus Dispatch: GOP blunders on nomination (Editorial). “Senate Republicans, such as Ohio’s Rob Portman, have advanced the argument that the voters of the United States should decide who should be nominated to the Supreme Court through their vote for president in November. But that’s exactly the decision the voters made three Novembers ago when they elected Obama to a four-year term, which continues until January. Presumably, voters elected him with the expectation that he would exercise his duties for his entire term. And it is illogical to argue that the president already elected has less right to seat a new justice than a president who has yet to be elected. In fact, the GOP argument is intended to obscure the fact that Republicans simply want to delay the nomination in the hopes that the next president will be a Republican, who will nominate someone more to their liking. The puzzle is why they have done this in such a hamfisted way. Flatly refusing to hold confirmation hearings simply plays into Obama’s hands, providing yet another example of Congress stonewalling the nation’s business and handing Obama another excuse for his own stretching of the Constitution. The Senate should hold confirmation hearings for Garland and then take a vote on his nomination. This, at least, would give the nominee a chance to make his case, not only before Congress, but before the American people. Senators are under no obligation to accept Garland and could reject the nomination and ask the president to submit another name. Which probably is how the Democrats, generally being savvier, would stall if the situation were reversed.”

Cincinnati Enquirer: Reject Supreme Court gridlock, senators (Editorial). “The president is constitutionally bound to make a nomination to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia, and the Senate is constitutionally bound to hold hearings on his nominee. The Constitution doesn’t specify a time frame, but refusing to act for nearly a year – a quarter of a president’s term – is surely not reasonable… President Obama nominated a moderate replacement last week in Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Enquirer editorial board urges Portman, who’s up for re-election, and McConnell to reconsider their opposition to hearings for this nominee who has previously received bipartisan support.  We elect our leaders to run government, but increasingly they seem to spend their time raising money for the next election, running for office and/or shutting down government to make a point.  Senators have the chance to prove this rap wrong by giving Garland a hearing.”

Toledo Blade: Give judge a hearing, vote (Editorial). “Justice Scalia’s Seat Need Not And Should Not Remain Vacant Until After The Election, If The Senate Will Put Its Constitutional Duties Before Political Games. Senators Have An Accomplished, Distinguished, Well-Respected, Mainstream Candidate Before Them For A Vital Government Post. Ignoring Him Would Be An Outrageous Default Of Leadership.” “But Mr. Portman and Mr. McConnell allude to what Senate Republicans fear: that Judge Garland’s appointment would end the current hard-right ideological majority on the high court that the GOP favors. Beneath all the posturing and high-minded rhetoric, the Republican resistance is a matter of spiteful partisanship. Speculation about whom a President Trump or a President Clinton might nominate to the Supreme Court next year is irrelevant. Nor is the issue what Democrats Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Charles Schumer said years ago about high-court nominations; ‘you’re another’ is no basis for making sound policy .  Justice Scalia’s seat need not and should not remain vacant until after the election, if the Senate will put its constitutional duties before political games. Senators have an accomplished, distinguished, well-respected, mainstream candidate before them for a vital government post. Ignoring him would be an outrageous default of leadership. Senator Portman is correct when he recites the Republican talking point: ‘This is about the principle, not the person.’ And the principle remains clear and easily understood: The Senate should do its job, and let the President do his.”

Star Beacon: Garland should get a hearing (Editorial). “If the Senate is concerned about the nominee put forward, by all means they do not have to confirm if it can be demonstrated that the person is unfit for the highest court in the nation. But to not even have hearings to make that determination, to make the decision based solely on the fact that Obama has nine months left in office instead of 14 months is wrong.   And it is a sign of our toxic politics and inability to accomplish anything that the Senate is pledging not to have hearings or an up or down vote on Garland — especially because Garland seems, by all accounts, perfectly qualified for the court and a nominee most Republicans could see themselves supporting.  While this Congress is certainly not known for its ability to accomplish anything, no one is saying no new laws should be passed because some senators and representatives might be in their last year in office.   Perhaps in vetting Garland, information will come out marking him unfit for the Supreme Court. But one way or another, Garland deserves to be considered on his own merits.”