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Editorial Boards: Kasich and Portman Wrong On Scalia Vacancy

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Lynn Tramonte: “Ohioans—indeed, all Americans—deserve better leadership than this”   

Following Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s death, Senator Rob Portman and Governor John Kasich stated that the current President should not fill his vacancy.  The Toledo Blade issued an important editorial calling the two Republicans to task. “Creating a crisis in one of the three branches of the federal government is too high a price to pay for partisan advantage,” the editorial reads. “It’s understandable that Republican senators would prefer not to face the prospect of losing the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that Justice Scalia did so much to propel. But imposing that ideological and partisan preference by refusing to do the jobs they were elected to do would be to the detriment of the country and the administration of justice.”

The Columbus Dispatch added that waiting to confirm a replacement for Scalia would be “an affront to the president’s constitutional authority to nominate a justice . . . [and] an abdication of the Senate’s duty to ‘advise and consent’ in confirming a nominee.”

“Republicans claim to revere the U.S. Constitution, but only when it furthers their political goals,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice.  “Ohioans—indeed, all Americans—deserve better leadership than this.”

Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine previously violated the separation of powers doctrine by suing the United States to block implementation of President Obama’s immigration enforcement policies.  They joined a partisan lawsuit, initiated by the state of Texas, that attacks the Executive Branch’s fundamental right to make administrative policy. This case is on the Supreme Court’s docket for 2016.

“The vast majority of legal experts agree that the Administration’s immigration actions are lawful, and it’s well-established that the lawsuit against them is politically-motivated.  Perhaps Kasich and Portman don’t want to fill Scalia’s vacancy because they’re worried about the strength of their case.  That’s a cynical manipulation of the nation’s highest court, and one we simply cannot enable,” said Tramonte.

David Leopold, Cleveland based immigration attorney and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association added,  “Senator Robert Portman’s and Governor John Kasich’s claim that President Obama should not fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Scalia smacks of crass partisan politics, not the leadership Ohioans expect from their elected officials.  The people of Ohio have entrusted these men to follow the Constitution, not to play partisan politics with something as critical to the nation as a Supreme Court appointment.  The Constitution couldn’t be any clearer; the U.S. Senate must consider whomever President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court. Portman’s refusal to respect the Constitution is an affront to the nation and a betrayal of the trust placed in him by the people of Ohio.”

Ohio’s Voice is a project of America’s Voice.