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

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

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

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jay Heck: Ron Johnson should support Supreme Court hearing for Garland (Op-Ed). “While Johnson has said he will meet with Garland, opposing any hearing or further consideration is a breach of his constitutional duties and an affront to the voters of Wisconsin. Johnson swore an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ but now it seems that his constitutional duties only apply when it's politically convenient. Wisconsinites expect more than partisan obstructionism from their U.S. senators. We expect them to display good judgment and independence when the occasion calls for it. Now is such a time.”

Wisconsin State Journal: Eric Frydenlund: Ron Johnson should ditch talking points, consider Merrick Garland for high court (op-ed). “Please restore some sense to our political system of checks and balances. Consider Merrick Garland, a moderate jurist cut from the mold of an impartial judiciary.”

Post-Crescent: Tom Clementi: Ron Johnson’s judicial blocks are illogical (Op-Ed). “For someone who claims to be a staunch protector of the Constitution, Johnson sure is going about it in an unusual way — by ignoring the Constitution. Article 2 states that the president shall nominate judges to the Supreme Court, and the Senate shall provide its advice and consent. Johnson, along with other Senate Republicans, claims that since Obama is in his final year as president, he should not be allowed to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Odd. My copy of the Constitution doesn’t mention this three-year limit, so McConnell, Johnson and the others must be operating from a different Constitution.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Shorthanded Supreme Court missing calls (Editorial). “Other Wisconsin cases that could reach a deadlocked court include a challenge to the state's voter ID law and a requirement that physicians who provide abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the procedure. There is a solution: Hold hearings and take a vote on Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. McConnell has claimed Garland would move the court "dramatically to the left." But Garland is a judicial moderate with a long and distinguished record. As McConnell well knows, hearings would expose this fact. The Senate approved Garland's elevation to the D.C. Circuit 76 to 23 in 1997. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, says senators should just ‘man up’ and take a vote on Obama's nominee. We agree. Johnson should follow Kirk's lead. Let the umpires get back to the game at full strength.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Senate must do its job and give Merrick Garland a hearing (Editorial). “In other words, Garland is no wild-eyed loose cannon who can't be trusted. Quite the opposite. And, although he may lean liberal in a judicial sense, he doesn't appear to be an ideologue with his own agenda. By all accounts, Garland appears to be a reasonable and thoughtful selection.  Which makes him more than worthy of consideration by the Senate. Senators should do the president and Garland the courtesy of hearing him out. How they vote then is up to them. But at least hear him out.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Johnson and other Republicans who have made it their job stand shoulder to shoulder against Obama should consider this:  Do they really want Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to make the next selection to the court?”

The Cap Times: Scot Ross: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Obstruction (Op-Ed). “Just as clear as Johnson’s track record of obstructionism on judicial appointments is the language of the United States Constitution that he, as an elected official, has sworn an oath to uphold. It is the duty of the president of the United States to nominate judges to the federal courts and justices to the Supreme Court. And it is the job of Ron Johnson as a member of the Senate to give these nominations fair consideration, to ‘advise and consent,’ not ‘obstruct and delay.’”

Wisconsin State Journal: Denise Beckfield: Sen. Johnson should push to fill vacancy (LTE). “Lately, I've been hearing radio ads from a group called the Judicial Crisis Network, urging me to call U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, arguing that we should ‘let the people decide’ and wait until the next president is elected to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. It may surprise Sen. Johnson, but the people did decide, in 2008 and again in 2012, when they elected Barack Obama to lead the country. One of the president's duties, spelled out in the Constitution, is to nominate a Supreme Court justice when a vacancy arises on the court.”

Wisconsin State Journal: High court pick deserves a hearing and vote (Editorial). “But rejecting Barack Obama’s nominee before that person is even identified is unfair and irresponsible. It risks a prolonged vacancy, causing high court dysfunction if 4-4 votes occur.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Timothy Burns: Senators show the late Antonin Scalia no respect (Op-Ed). “The Constitution states that the president ‘shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint...judges of the Supreme Court,’ giving few details on how the Senate is to provide its advice and consent. Federalist No. 76, however, describes the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices with more detail on how that process fits within the Constitution's checks and balances. That essay, written by Alexander Hamilton, is very telling on whether the Constitution's authors thought it was appropriate for the Senate to just refuse to act on a nomination.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Sen. Ron Johnson should break ranks on court nominee (Editorial). “A president is elected to a four-year term, not a three-year term. That president is not a ‘lame duck,’ by all normal definitions, until after the November election in his last year in office. The Constitution prescribes a process: The president nominates. The Senate offers advice and consent.”

The Cap Times: Ron Johnson and GOP candidates assault the Constitution (Editorial). “The Constitution does not say that presidents are limited in this duty by the timing of when a vacancy occurs. There is no footnote that says presidents shall perform their duties only in their first terms. Nor is there a footnote that says members of the Senate shall provide appropriate advice and consent only when a president is in his or her first term. And there is certainly no language that suggests that a president’s nominee to the court must parallel the ideology of the justice he or she would replace.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: President Barack Obama, Senate should do their duty (Editorial). “But political tumult or not, the Constitution prescribes a process: The president ‘shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate’ to appoint justices to the high court. President Barack Obama should do just that, and the Senate should, in good faith, evaluate the nominee and decide whether to confirm.”