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

Leaders in Utah speak out and tell Senate Republicans to do their job.

Across the state, Utahns continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. Voices in Utah have sounded a disappointed tone in Senators Hatch and Lee’s decision to inject partisanship into the Supreme Court and in their refusal to carry out certain parts of their jobs for partisan gain.

Salt Lake Tribune: Lawrence Leigh: ‘Sen. Scalia’ would have voted to confirm Judge Garland (Op-Ed). “Sen. Scalia passionately believed that words mattered when interpreting the Constitution. Faced with a constitutional issue, he would read each word of the document. If he found that the text was clear, his research was done. He compared the text with the conduct in question. If the challenged conduct did not violate the Constitution, he voted as a conservative Republican. Here he would face the nomination issue no differently. His starting point was Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. His eyes focused particularly on this passage: ‘The President … shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court ... ‘”

Salt Lake Tribune: Obama not to blame for Supreme Court stalemate (Editorial). “Sen. Orrin Hatch is right. President Obama's decision to nominate Judge Merrick Garland to the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to touch off a ‘political firestorm’ and to make an even bigger mess of the ongoing ‘toxic presidential campaign.’  But, really, whose fault is that?  Not Obama's. And, mostly, not Hatch's either. Though the Utah Republican has spent precious little of what should be a considerable store of political capital to offer any real leadership on this issue.  Practically from the moment Justice Antonin Scalia's body was discovered on a Texas hunting trip last month, partisans of all stripes have been overstating the degree to which their side is right and the other party is wrong.  The Constitution of the United States does say that the president — who, for the next 10 months, happens to be the twice duly elected Barack Hussein Obama — ‘shall nominate’ justices of the court. And it gives the Senate the right of ‘advice and consent’ on such choices.  The document is silent, though, on many details. So it is a stretch to argue, as some Democrats have, that the Senate would be derelict in its constitutional duty by rejecting this, or any other nominee, either actively or passively.  But while the Democrats put a grinning spin on tradition, the Republicans shamelessly shred it.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Hatch owes us leadership, not obstruction (Editorial). “Of course Obama should nominate a new justice soon. Of course the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes both Hatch and Lee, and the full Senate should consider that nominee. Of course the Senate has the authority to reject said nomination, for whatever reasons it deems important. Elections do matter. Including the one in which Obama was chosen to be president, for a term that does not end for almost another year. And the elections that resulted in the make-up of the sitting Senate, charged by the Constitution with the duty to advise and consent, or not, to such nominations. It is only reasonable for the Democrats to put up a nominee and for the Republicans to judge that candidate. Then the voters, having seen how seriously each party has taken its assigned role, can issue their judgment at the ballot box in November.”

Deseret News: Jonathan Swinton: Supreme Court nominations and constitutional responsibility (Op-Ed). “Merrick Garland is a moderate choice. Many current senators have said they know he’s qualified and even have said he would be a great justice. Despite this, they’re failing to even consider him because they want someone of their own party to present a nominee. The Founding Fathers were legitimately concerned about this kind of behavior and Hamilton noted in the Federalist Papers that senators were expected to leave their partisanship at the door when considering a candidate. The fact is that whether it is an election year or not, partisanship should never come into play. It should be left at the door, so the reasons our senators have given in refusing to consider Garland are irrelevant. I see the responsibility of senators to uphold and abide by the Constitution each day in each situation. I can and am willing to abide by the Constitution regardless of situation or party. I will do my duty to consider any nominee in any office put forth by the president, whether a Republican or a Democrat. I'm willing to stand by the oath I'd make if I'm elected.”