Recommended Readings

4/21/2016 – Get In Line, SCOTUS. This Court Has Been Waiting 2,296 Days For A Judge.
The Supreme Court has been waiting two months for the Senate to do something about its empty seat. If you think that sounds like a long time, you haven’t heard about the federal circuit court in Wisconsin. It’s been waiting more than six years for a judge, and it’s not looking like Republicans will give the court one anytime soon, either. read full story

4/19/2016 – So Much For ‘Letting The People Decide’ The Supreme Court Nominee
The American people have spoken. A majority of them now say they want the Senate to vote this year on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. That’s according to a Tuesday NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. read full story

4/17/2016 – Agree or disagree, Baylor Law School panel smartly highlights supreme outrage
Just as justices on the Supreme Court of the United States occasionally (but not always) disagree, so, too, do constitutional scholars. While some insist Senate Republicans now violate the U.S. Constitution by refusing to conduct confirmation hearings for President Obama’s high court nominee, others disagree — but only to a point. read full story

4/13/2016 – President Obama Deserves a Vote on His Supreme Court Nominee
We’ve been with President Barack Obama since the beginning. As three of his senior advisers, we worked closely with the president on a host of important issues—few more important than assisting him with the judicial nominations and confirmations of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan. Nominations are not taken lightly, and they can’t be, for too much is at stake for the American people. read full story

4/8/2016 – Former Bush official: Insist that Grassley do his job
One of the most important constitutional responsibilities of the president is to nominate qualified people for senior positions in the executive and judicial branches of the federal government. One of the most important constitutional responsibilities of the U.S. Senate is to provide “advice and consent” for these nominations in a process known as confirmation. read full story

3/22/2016 – What Would Scalia Do?
President Obama has selected his nominee: D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland. The Republican-controlled Senate has vowed to provide no hearings, no advice, and certainly no consent. read full story

3/25/2016 – GOP’s Supreme Court blowback: The Republicans’ case for obstruction is bad and getting worse
Orrin Hatch, one of the senior Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is on a one-man mission to save the American judiciary. As Hatch sees it, this branch of government is under terrible and imminent threat from a malign force that threatens to undermine its legitimacy and corrode the foundations of American democracy. read full story

3/25/2016 – President Obama: All I ask is that the Senate act fairly
Nominating a Supreme Court Justice is one of the most consequential roles our Constitution entrusts to any president. It’s a moment that demands us to rise above short-term politics in order to maintain the integrity of our democratic institutions. read full story

3/24/2016 – Senate should confirm Garland to high court
The U.S. Senate should act quickly to confirm federal court of appeals judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. By any measure, Garland is impeccably qualified. read full story

3/23/2016 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 9 Questions for the Next Justice
The American people deserve a full vetting of Obama’s nominee read full story

3/23/2016 – Bush Would Have Nominated Garland
As the chief ethics lawyer in the White House Counsel Office, I helped President George W. Bush with the nomination and confirmation of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. read full story

3/22/2016 – Could a New Supreme Court Justice Help Restore Fundamental Civil Liberties?
President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States, if confirmed, is an opportunity to restore important civil liberties that have been eroded over three decades of dominance by five conservative justices; and it gives the Court a chance to revisit its disastrous decision in Citizens United, which has fouled our electoral process with unprecedented torrents of money and influence. read full story

3/22/2016 – Massive resistance is GOP strategy
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists that Republican refusal to act on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is based on principle. Lawmakers merely are continuing to follow the Biden rule. read full story

3/22/2016 – US needs a government of laws, not people
Sometimes you don’t value what you have until you experience its absence close up. We each are deans of law schools; we each have seen, close up, nations without courts independent of political or partisan control. read full story

3/16/2016 – Garland: An Excellent Choice for the Supreme Court
Merrick Garland is an excellent choice to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He is unquestionably qualified for the position, having served for 19 years as a judge on the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — the court just below the Supreme Court. read full story

3/15/2016 – There Is No ‘Biden Rule’
For those concerned about the Senate’s unprecedented power grab in refusing to consider anyone President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has an answer: The Judiciary Committee is merely following the Biden Rules. read full story

3/11/2016 – The Absurdity of Senate Republicans’ Efforts to Scuttle a Supreme Court Nomination
"A novel and absurd notion," is how leading legal scholars and historians describe Senate Republicans' obstinate refusal to consider President Obama's forthcoming nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death. read full story

3/9/2016 – Getting the Senate’s responsibilities on Supreme Court nominations right
One hundred years from now, people will look back upon the year 2016 in wonder. 2016 was the eighth and final year of the presidency of Barack Obama, the first African American elected to the nation’s highest office. 2016 was the year of a presidential election, possibly destined to be historic with the election as president of either the first woman or the first person to come directly from the world of business and with no prior experience in public office. read full story

3/8/2016 – Shun a President’s Supreme Court Nominee? Alexander Hamilton Would Not Be Pleased
Alexander Hamilton, that visionary Founding Father and hip-hop phenomenon, thanks to Hamilton, the musical, has been celebrated of late on Broadway and at the Grammys. read full story

3/7/2016 – Al Franken, Dave Durenberger: There’s no excuse for digging in on Supreme Court vacancy
The Constitution is very clear about what must happen now, in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing: “The President shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint” a replacement. read full story

3/7/2016 – Johnson and GOP should answer Constitution’s call
It all happened so quickly. I was watching the news when I heard about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when a CNN news alert popped up on my phone to tell me Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the next president, not President Barack Obama, should be the one to fill the vacancy. read full story

3/6/2016 – Confirmation Hearings Bring Sunshine To The Court
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a staunch believer in open government, famously said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Transparency enables the American people to hold their government accountable and to engage in the democratic process. read full story

3/5/2016 – Harkin: Leaving SUPCO seat vacant would be unprecedented
During my 30 years in the U.S. Senate, I had occasion to vote on many Supreme Court judges. I voted “yes” on some, “no” on others, but at no time was it ever seriously proposed that we not vote on a nominee. Even further from any rational consideration was the proposal that the majority party, whether Democrat or Republican, would refuse to even meet with a nominee or refuse to hold hearings in the Judiciary Committee and refuse to vote on a nominee. read full story

3/5/2016 – A judge’s view: Delay in seating Supreme Court’s ninth justice leaves crucial work undone
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court is down to eight justices, and a debate rages over whether President Barack Obama should nominate a successor or defer selection to the next president. read full story

2/15/2016 – Grassley sidesteps Constitution on judiciary
When a vacancy occurs on any federal court, the Constitution directs the president to nominate persons to fill that vacancy. No one else is authorized by the Constitution to make nominations. Only the president has that power. read full story

3/3/2016 – Legal Experts Across U.S. Urge Senate to Fulfill Its Constitutional Duties
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proclamation that Republican senators will block anyone nominated by President Obama to replace Supreme Court Justice Scalia was followed by immediate condemnation from legal experts. Ignoring those objections, McConnell doubled down, making clear that GOP senators would not only vote down an Obama pick but would not even hold hearings or meet with prospective nominees. read full story

3/3/2016 – What Are Senate Republicans So Afraid of?
In filling the Supreme Court vacancy, Senate Republicans seem to be afraid of, well, everything. read full story

2/18/2016 – How a New Justice Could Change Our Elections

2/28/2016 – Senators show the late Antonin Scalia no respect
As the nation mourned Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans praised his judicial philosophy of "originalism" — the view that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the understanding of its authors. read full story

2/24/2016 – The Supreme Court Vacancy and the Constitutional Responsibilities of the Senate
In a recent piece in the Washington Post, Miguel Estrada and Benjamin Wittes proclaimed that the only rule that now governs the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices "is the law of the jungle: There are no rules." read full story

2/24/2016 – A Responsibility I Take Seriously
The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.  It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead. read full story

2/23/2016 – Congressional Dysfunction Raises Stakes for Supreme Court Vacancy
In the days following Justice Scalia’s death, the Senate and President have been gearing up for a high-stakes battle. Nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court is always an important event, but congressional dysfunction raises the stakes to new levels. read full story

2/19/2016 – Leading Constitutional Law Scholar Explains the Supreme Court Vacancy
In the week following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, confusion and misinformation became widespread with regard to U.S. leaders’ constitutional obligations to fill the vacant seat. To explain what the Constitution requires of President Obama and the U.S. Senate, as well as the ramifications of a prolonged vacancy on the high Court, noted professor and legal expert Erwin Chemerinsky on Wednesday joined ACS for a discussion about what comes next. read full story

2/15/2016 – A Brief History of Supreme Court Nominations During a Presidential Election Year

08/18/2015 – Confirming federal judges during the final two years of the Obama administration: Vacancies up, nominees down
The Senate began a month-long recess on August 7, having confirmed five judges in 2015 compared to 26 at this point in President Bush’s seventh year in office and 11 in President Clinton’s. Then, as now, the party that controlled the Senate hoped in 14 months to regain control of the White House and judicial nominations. read full story

06/08/2015 – Reid Rips McConnell Over Judges
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday slammed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting the Senate wouldn't approve a new circuit court or Supreme Court justice for President Obama. read full story

06/02/2015 – Appointment with history: First African-American to Preside Over State’s Oldest Federal Judgeship
Judge George Hanks Jr. stood in his new workplace — Galveston’s historic federal courtroom fashioned with grand wood panels and lights shaped as the scales of justice. read full story

05/22/2015 – Mitch McConnell’s One-Man Shutdown
Remember Mitch McConnell’s partial government shutdown? It’s continuing. And getting worse. read full story

05/21/2015 – Pennsylvania, Where Are the Judges?
t has been more than 620 days since Sean McLaughlin, the U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, officially resigned from the bench—leaving a key spot on this important court unfilled. read full story

05/19/2015 – Want to be Called ‘Your Honor?’ You May Have to Wait for That
Used to be that if you wanted to be a federal judge and were related to a senator (even by marriage) or at least endorsed by your home state senators, you’d stand a decent chance of putting on those black robes. read full story

05/14/2015 – Toomey Signs Off on Nominee for Federal Appeals Court
A Philadelphia jurist’s nomination for a federal appeals court is moving forward now that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has given his endorsement and the Senate Judiciary Committee has finished vetting Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, who serves on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania bench. read full story

05/13/2015 – Pat Toomey Insists He’s Not Holding Up A Judicial Nominee He’s Holding Up
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) insisted Wednesday that he's not blocking one of his own judicial nominees for political reasons -- even as he is still refusing to give the Senate Judiciary Committee the green light to give that nominee a hearing. read full story

05/13/2015 – Toomey’s Explanation for Restrepo Delay Raises More Questions
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey has been taking a lot of heat at home for collaborating with Chuck Grassley's scheme to delay Phil Restrepo's confirmation to the Third Circuit for as long as possible. read full story

05/13/2015 – I Am Not Delaying Judge L. Felipe Restrepo’s 3rd Circuit Nomination
As a senator, I have become accustomed to being criticized for things I have done. read full story

05/08/2015 – Pennsylvania’s Missing Judges
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a judicial nominee hearing — only the third this year, even though Congress has been in session since Jan. 6. read full story

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