This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

What They're Saying in West Virginia about the Supreme Court Nomination

Leaders in West Virginia are speaking out and telling Senate Republicans to do their job.

Across the state, West Virginians continue to speak out against Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and give Judge Garland a hearing and vote. From elected officials, to law professors, to local newspapers, West Virginia voices have sounded a disappointed tone in Senator Capito’s decision to inject partisanship into the Supreme Court and in her refusal to carry out certain parts of her job for partisan gain. They have asked Senator Capito to follow Senator Manchin’s lead, and support hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Danny Jones: Senate GOP does itself no favors on Judge Garland. “A better way is for the GOP to give Judge Garland a hearing this summer and ask the tough questions to determine if he could be acceptable or not. Meanwhile Republicans who really care about the direction of the Supreme Court need to work on the national campaign. If a consensus candidate is not found with electable appeal to the mainstream of the American people, Judge Garland will be the least of the worries for the national Republican Party.”

West Virginia Law Professors: “Of course it is entirely appropriate for every senator to thoroughly review Chief Judge Garland’s record and qualifications. However, an outright refusal to even consider his nomination runs counter to the Senate’s obligation, under Article II of the Constitution, to provide ‘advice and consent.’ There is no exception that allows senators to withhold advice and consent during a presidential election year, and there is ample time remaining to complete the confirmation process. Over the past two decades, the longest confirmation process for a Supreme Court nominee lasted 99 days, and nearly 300 days remain in the President's term of office.”

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Alison Peck: WVU law profs urge Senate to follow Constitution (Op-Ed). “The Constitution contains no such election-year exception to the Senate’s duty to fulfill its advice and consent role. The Appointments Clause states that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the Supreme Court.” The Appointments Clause appears in Article II of the Constitution, which sets out the powers of the Executive branch. (A separate section, Article I, pertains to the powers of Congress.) The Constitution clearly gives the president, not the Senate, the power to appoint Supreme Court justices. The Senate’s role is limited to advice and consent. Nearly 300 days remain in President Obama’s term. If the Senate can refuse to perform its constitutional role during the last 300 days of a president’s term, logically it could also refuse to act during a president’s last 600 days, or last 1,200, or indeed, all 1,460. Such an interpretation would eviscerate the Appointments Clause, effectively removing appointment from the president’s constitutional powers.”

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Senate should begin hearings on Supreme Court nominee (Editorial). “The wording of the nation’s structural document is very clear, and there is no precedent for a president in his final year to defer a nomination until the next president takes office.  Conservatives have been rightly concerned about President Barack Obama’s seeming disregard for the U.S. Constitution, so they have no reason to complain now that the chief executive is following the law.  As for Obama’s selection: ‘Garland is the consummate moderate, and he’s likely the best that libertarians and conservatives could have reasonably hoped for from this president,’ wrote Trevor Burns in Time magazine, reprinted on the Cato Institute website.  Added Burrus: ‘With the looming prospect of either a President Donald Trump, whose philosophy on judicial nominations is as unknown and variable as the rest of his positions, or a President Hillary Clinton, who would certainly nominate much more ideologically extreme justices, Senate Republicans should give Garland the hearing he deserves. Whether Republicans should vote to confirm him, however, is a little more complicated. One thing is clear, however: ‘Letting the people decide’ could get us something much worse.’  Senators should begin the process of considering Judge Garland, but they should take their time in doing so.”

Exponent Telegraph: Lawmakers should follow Constitution and consider Supreme Court nominee (Editorial). “Voters entrusted in him the right to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court. His constitutional duty did not end with the passing of Justice Scalia.’ ‘Even if the Senate leadership caves in and decides to hold hearings and put Garland’s nomination up for a vote, it is not altogether certain he will be approved. A number of Republicans don’t feel Garland is conservative enough to fill Justice Scalia’s shoes, and there are some Democrats grumbling that Garland is a little too moderate and not liberal enough for their taste.  As for the American people having a say? President Obama was elected to a second term in 2012. Voters entrusted in him the right to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court. His constitutional duty did not end with the passing of Justice Scalia.  Lawmakers should stand up and do what they were sent to Washington to do — defend and protect the Constitution. And the Constitution makes it very clear what should be done when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court.”

Register Herald: Do your job, Sen. Capito (Editorial). “But for Sen. Capito, doing the right thing in this case would fly in the face of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has vowed not to consider the nomination. McConnell, a belligerent obstructionist since the day President Obama took office back in 2008, believes the vacancy should be filled by the newly elected president next year so that the will of the people is counted. Capito, being a good McConnell soldier and less an independent thinker, has signed onto that pledge. In short, she is more beholding to McConnell’s warped thinking than she is to us, the citizens of West Virginia. ‘Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November,’ Capito said in a statement that reads as though it was prepared by Sen. McConnell’s office. That is so unfortunate and contrary to what we thought we were getting when we elected her to office in 2014. We remind Sen. Capito that when she took office, she took a pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not promote political gamesmanship. Whether she knows it or not, marching to McConnell’s drum beat makes her look like a mindless puppet — obeying the strong and monied arm of the Republican elite rather than serving as a representative and public servant of the common folk of West Virginia.”

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Scalia’s death opens political tumult (Editorial). “The U.S. Constitution requires President Obama to appoint a successor. Article II, Section 2 says the president ‘shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,’ to appoint ‘judges of the Supreme Court.’ It’s a presidential duty and responsibility. Obama says he will obey the Constitution and nominate a replacement. But Republicans are exploding in protest. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants the president to do nothing for 11 months, leaving a high court vacancy until a new president is chosen. Presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz declared the same. Bitter political polarization shouldn’t leave American justice floundering in limbo almost a year. If a Democrat is elected president this year, and Republicans retain control of the Senate, the same standoff might occur in 2017, with the GOP refusing to vote on a Supreme Court nominee by the next president.”

Register-Herald: Playing games with court vacancy (Editorial). “Forget that it is the president’s constitutional duty to offer up a nominee with the advice and consent of the Senate. Forget that the court would then operate for more than a year with a vacancy, leaving a whole host of cases to an even 4-4 split of the court, where the rulings of the lower court would hold. Listen, you may not care for the president and his policies — we think that much is clear — but we would hope that we can all agree that the president and the Senate should perform their constitutional duties, that in a nation of laws our Supreme Court is too important to be undermined by partisan shenanigans, and that both the president and the Senate need to get to work so that we have a fully functioning court. Now is not the time to abdicate your responsibilities. For Republicans, you have the opportunity to prove to all Americans that you are not obstructionists and you do love your Constitution — just as Justice Scalia did.”