In recent weeks, our two U.S. senators have met with Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s impressive and highly qualified nominee to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
We applaud Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King for meeting with Judge Garland and for urging their Senate colleagues to meet with Judge Garland; hold a confirmation hearing; and vote on his nomination to the high court.
This “regular order” for Senate process, however, appears unlikely since the majority leadership in the Senate refuses to move forward with the process. This refusal runs counter to the Senate’s obligation, under Article II of the Constitution, to provide “advice and consent” to the president’s nomination.
There is no exception that allows the Senate to withhold advice and consent during a presidential election year. Over the past two decades, the longest confirmation process for a Supreme Court nominee lasted 99 days, and President Obama has about 275 days remaining in his term.
As legal scholars and professors at the University of Maine School of Law, we are deeply committed to the fair administration of justice, upholding the rule of law and educating future generations of the legal profession. We are acutely aware of the importance of integrity in the nomination process and how a long-term vacancy jeopardizes the Supreme Court’s ability to resolve disputed questions of federal law. That is why we joined over 350 other law professors in a recent letter to senate leaders urging a prompt and fair hearing and a full Senate vote on Judge Garland’s nomination to be a justice on the Supreme Court.
As Mainers, we are proud that our elected senators are doing the right thing and continuing to bring a Maine voice of reason to the U.S. Senate.
professors, University of Maine School of Law