AS JUDGE GARLAND BEGINS MEETINGS WITH SENATORS, SHAHEEN CALLS ON REPUBLICAN SENATE LEADERSHIP TO MAINTAIN BIPARTISAN TRADITION OF CONSIDERING SUPREME COURT NOMINEESMarch 30, 2016
[AUDIO OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE IS AVAILABLE HERE]
**Shaheen was joined at a press conference on the steps of the federal district court in Concord by former NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick and UNH Law professor Erin Corcoran**
**Their remarks come the day after a deadlocked 4-4 Supreme Court decision and as Judge Garland begins meeting with Senators on Capitol Hill**
(Concord, NH) – Today in Concord, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) held a press conference where she called on Republican leadership in the Senate to maintain the longstanding bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees and schedule a hearing and a vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination. Her remarks come the day after a deadlocked 4-4 Supreme Court decision and as Judge Garland begins meeting with Senators on Capitol Hill to make the case for his nomination. Shaheen was joined by former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, and UNH Law professor Erin Corcoran.
“Granite Staters are tired of gridlock and want to see the Senate working,” said Shaheen. “The bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees is an important one that is now under threat. The President has put forward a well-respected nominee to serve on the Supreme Court and now it’s time for the Senate to fulfill its end of the constitutional bargain. Every Senator swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the Constitution is clear on the Senate’s obligation. The Supreme Court has plenty of work to do and needs all nine members to properly perform its constitutional duties. Judge Garland deserves a hearing and he deserves a vote.”
Justice Broderick served on the New Hampshire Supreme Court for 15 years and was Chief Justice for six of those years. Professor Corcoran’s many areas of expertise include the federal approval process for judicial nominations.
"To delay consideration of a qualified nominee and leave a vacancy for over a year on the United States Supreme Court, needlessly weakens our democracy and sadly politicizes our federal judiciary,” said Broderick. “I agree with Chief Justice Roberts that in many respects the confirmation process is not working well but shutting the process down takes it to a whole new level. I fervently hope that the Senate does not gridlock the highest court in the country. Nobody wins but our democracy and its citizens will surely lose."
KEY FACTS ON THE SENATE’S BIPARTISAN TRADITION OF CONSIDERING SUPREME COURT NOMINEES:
- The Senate’s practice of confirming Supreme Court justices in Presidential election years goes back to the founding of our Nation – two of President George Washington’s nominees to the Supreme Court were confirmed in his last year in office.
- In the past century, every pending nominee to a vacant seat on the Supreme Court has received a vote on his or her nomination before the full Senate.
- Fair consideration by the full Senate has applied even to nominees with strong opposition. The Senate has confirmed two recent Supreme Court nominees with fewer than 60 votes.
- In 1991, Justice Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.
- In 2005, Justice Alito was confirmed by a vote of 58-42.
- Since Judiciary Committee hearings began in 1916, every pending Supreme Court nominee has received a hearing, except 9 nominees who were all confirmed within 11 days.
- According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, “since its creation in 1816, the Judiciary Committee’s typical practice has been to report even those Supreme Court nominations that were opposed by a Committee majority, thus allowing the full Senate to make the final decision on whether the nominee should be confirmed.”
- According to the Congressional Research Service, since 1975, the average number of days from nomination to final Senate confirmation vote is 67 days (2.2 months).
· In February 1988, President Reagan’s last year in office, a Democratic majority confirmed Justice Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court.
- In the 1940 Presidential election year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Frank Murphy, was confirmed in January.
- In the 1932 Presidential election year, President Herbert Hoover’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Benjamin Cardozo, was confirmed in February.
- In the 1916 Presidential election year, President Woodrow Wilson’s Supreme Court nominees, Justices Louis Brandeis and John Clarke, were confirmed in June and July respectively.
- The Republican leader, Senator Trent Lott, reaffirmed in 2001 that “no matter what the vote in committee on a Supreme Court nominee, it is the precedent of the Senate that the individual nominated is given a vote by the whole Senate.”
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