Toledo Blade: Portman Said Confirming Judges A “‘Solemn Responsibility’ Of The U.S. Senate”

New Report Highlights Portman’s Hypocrisy in Refusing to Consider SCOTUS Nominee

COLUMBUS — A new report from the Toledo Blade reveals the breathtaking hypocrisy of Sen. Rob Portman’s recent refusal to even consider the new Supreme Court nominee — uncovering video footage of Sen. Portman previously stating “confirming judges is ‘a solemn responsibility’ of the U.S. Senate.”  From the report:

“In a debate six years ago, Rob Portman said confirming judges is a ‘solemn responsibility’ of the U.S. Senate […] The debate, held in Toledo, was co-sponsored by The Blade and other Ohio newspapers. It was broadcast on WTVG-TV Channel 13. The two were asked a question about a recent spate of Supreme Court appointments. ‘The Senate does have a solemn responsibility and that’s the confirmation of judges,’ Mr. Portman said.”


In response, Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Daniel van Hoogstraten today issued the following statement.

“Senator Rob Portman’s breathtaking hypocrisy when it comes to the Supreme Court represents exactly what Ohioans hate about D.C. insiders and the dysfunctional politics of Washington. Senator Portman is on videotape stating that he has a ‘solemn responsibility’ to consider Supreme Court nominees, but now Senator Portman is abandoning his constitutional duties and failing to do his job in order to push the agenda of the Washington power brokers and well-connected special interests he serves. In Beltway Rob’s world of insiders and political deals, this kind of D.C. double-talk might be normal — but to working people it’s another clear example that Senator Portman has lost touch with Ohio’s values.”

Portman has received blistering criticism from editorial boards, leaders of the legal community and voters for his refusal to consider a new Supreme Court Justice, and polling shows a strong majority of Ohioans disagree with his position:

  • A Cincinnati Enquirer editorial stated, “Americans are saying loud and clear that they aren’t happy about how Washington has been running – or, more accurately, not running. Many senators, unfortunately, either aren’t getting the message or are misinterpreting it…The Enquirer editorial board urges Portman, who’s up for re-election, and McConnell to reconsider their opposition to hearings for this nominee who has previously received bipartisan support”

  • A Toledo Blade editorial stated, “If Senator Portman maintains his lockstep partisan obstructionism, Ohio voters will need to keep that in mind this Election Day. Polls suggest that most Ohioans want the high court vacancy filled this year. There is no reason to link a Senate vote to the outcome of the presidential election…The Senate should do its job, and let the President do his.”

  • A Columbus Dispatch editorial stated, “Once again, [Republicans] are making it easy to portray them as obstructionists…Senate Republicans, such as Ohio’s Rob Portman, have advanced the argument that the voters of the United States should decide who should be nominated to the Supreme Court through their vote for president in November. But that’s exactly the decision the voters made three Novembers ago when they elected Obama to a four-year term, which continues until January.”

  • A editorial stated, “Sen. Portman has decided to fall in line with Republican Party leaders in their sharply partisan and uncompromising stance on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. It was a mistake for Portman to do so.”

  • The Dean Emeritus and the Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati wrote that Portman’s position “is wrongheaded and injurious to the court as well as to other sectors of government and to the economy more generally. “

  • Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice — and Republican — Andy Douglas stated, “As I read the U.S. Constitution, it is not only the prerogative of the President to nominate someone to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, it is also the President’s duty. I am disappointed in, and discouraged by, those who have predetermined that any nominee will not be given a fair hearing or any hearing at all. American citizens deserve better than this.”

  • Judge Mark Painter wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer that Portman “believes that the Senate should shirk its constitutional duty” and is “guilty of putting both party and politics above the law of the land.”

  • A Youngstown Vindicator editorial stated, “Republicans in Congress, including Portman, are demanding that Obama ignore the Constitution with regard to one of the most important duties of a president: the nomination of federal judges, including those for the U.S. Supreme Court.”

  • A Toledo Blade editorial stated, “Creating a crisis in one of the three branches of the federal government is too high a price to pay for partisan advantage…. Regrettably, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who is seeking re-election this year in a state that Mr. Obama won twice, has adopted his party’s indefensible line.”

  • An Akron Beacon Journal editorial stated that Portman “fell, predictably, into the party line… Yet the majority does have an obvious responsibility to see that the courts function, and to show respect for the will of voters.”

  • A Columbus Dispatch editorial stated, “This is an affront to the president’s constitutional authority to nominate a justice. And it is an abdication of the Senate’s duty to ‘advise and consent’ in confirming a nominee; it should consider an individual’s merits.”

  • On WBNS-TV’s “Face the State,” the chair of the Ohio Republican Party contradicted Portman’s position the Supreme Court, stating that the Senate should consider a nominee.