ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ND senators toe party line on Garland hearings; Hoeven not sure yet if he'll meet with Obama's court pick

FARGO -- Senators in North Dakota, like nearly all of their colleagues, broke squarely along party lines Wednesday on whether the Senate should consider the president's nominee for the Supreme Court.

FARGO -- Senators in North Dakota, like nearly all of their colleagues, broke squarely along party lines Wednesday on whether the Senate should consider the president's nominee for the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court nominations often draw partisan reactions, but an opening in the middle of a presidential election to replace a conservative stalwart, a pick that could swing the balance of the court on many issues, has heightened the intensity.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp on Wednesday called on senators to meet with and vote on President Barack Obama's nominee for the nation's top court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven sided with fellow Republicans in maintaining the successor for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month, should be left until after the presidential election.

However, in a change from earlier positions, some Senate Republicans said Wednesday they would be willing to meet with Obama's nominee, though Hoeven was not among them.

ADVERTISEMENT

A spokesman for Hoeven said the senator was reserving judgment on that question, for now.

In a statement, Hoeven highlighted quotes from years ago in which Democratic senators said they didn't think the Senate was required to consider confirming judicial nominees as a president's term neared the end.

Hoeven also said the next justice may rule on issues important to North Dakota's economy, including federal rules on carbon emissions.

"Any Obama nominee, like this one, will support the president's regulatory agenda, which is counter to the interests of North Dakota," Hoeven said.

Heitkamp said that in the last 100 years, the full Senate has taken action on every pending U.S. Supreme Court nominee to fill a vacancy, regardless of whether the nomination was made in a presidential election year.

Heitkamp said that when North Dakotans go to work each day, "they are expected to do their jobs to the best of their abilities so they can make a living and feed their families.

"But some U.S. senators want to skirt their jobs and constitutional responsibilities by playing politics with our highest court," she said.

Neither of the North Dakota were in office in 1997, when the Senate confirmed Garland's appointment to the appeals bench 76-23.

Related Topics: U.S. SUPREME COURT
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
What To Read Next
A resolution looking to allow the legislature to consider work requirements on the newly expanded Medicaid program is one step closer to the 2024 ballot.
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.