NEWS OF THE WEEK: VULNERABLE INCUMBENTS SIDE WITH PARTY, WILL NOT DO THEIR JOBS TO FILL SCOTUS VACANCY. Republican senators quickly fell in line with Mitch McConnell’s unprecedented plan to obstruct the constitutional process – and the political move put the Majority’s most vulnerable incumbents in no-win positions:

Washington Post: The Daily 202: Why blocking Obama’s pick to replace Scalia could cost Republicans their Senate majority

Roll Call: Supreme Court Opening A Dilemma for Swing-State Republicans

CNN: Vulnerable Senate Republicans key to Supreme Court nominee’s future

Washington Post: The days of Senate dysfunction were supposed to be over. Now what?

New York Times: Mitch McConnell’s Stance in Confirmation Fight Could Help and Hurt G.O.P.

New York Times: Republicans Risk Five Key Senate Races With Supreme Court Stance

Wall Street Journal: Risks for Senators in Backing McConnell’s Call to Delay Supreme Court Appointment

ABC News: Looming Battle Over Scalia Successor Becomes Democrats’ Rallying Cry for Senate Control

IT WASN’T JUST NATIONAL MEDIA, GOP ALSO LOST IN THEIR LOCAL PRESS: Republicans facing tough reelection fights can’t afford the (well-deserved) criticism they’ve earned this week. It was brutal and with Republicans either contorting their positions or digging in – the editorial boards and opinion writers won’t let up any time soon:

Concord Monitor Editorial: In high court fight, Ayotte is just wrong

Portsmouth Herald Editorial: Ayotte, many Republicans put partisanship ahead of Constitution

Nashua Telegraph Editorial: Rules are clear on court appointment

Keene Sentinel Editorial: The Senate would be abdicating its responsibility not to vote on a Supreme Court nominee

Valley News Editorial: After Scalia

Toledo Blade Editorial: After Justice Scalia

Columbus Dispatch Editorial: The bitter battle begins

Akron Beacon Journal Editorial: A path to compromise and confirmation of a justice – now

Arizona Republic Editorial: Just name Scalia’s replacement, already

Arizona Republic Opinion: McCain flipflops on Supreme Court nomination

Chicago Sun-Times Editorial: Support Supreme Court hearings, Sen. Kirk

Crain’s Chicago Business: Kirk’s in a no-win position over Scalia successor

Sun Sentinel Editorial: Justice Antonin Scalia’s death should awaken, energize voters

Scranton Times-Tribune Editorial: Nominate and confirm

Scranton Times-Tribune Editorial: Toomey must stop voting

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: Antonin Scalia and the limits of ideology

               Philadelphia Daily News Editorial: Republicans in denial about Supreme Court vacancy

Penn Live Editorial: Republicans might not like it, but Obama has the obligation to name Justice Scalia’s replacement

Capital Times Editorial: Ron Johnson and GOP candidates assault the Constitution

Capital Times Opinion: Presidency is a four-year, not three-year term as GOP suggests

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: President Barack Obama, Senate should do their duty

Germantown Now Commentary: Why Won’t Ron Johnson Do His Job?

TOOMEY’S ALARMING ADMISSION: NOT ABOUT NOMINEE’S QUALIFICATIONS. One of the Republican talking points is waiting on a hearing and vote will give the American people a chance to voice their opinion. Good thing we have Pat Toomey to say aloud what we already knew: “It might be just as well not to have a hearing that would, sort of, might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate, because it’s bigger than that.” But don’t worry – according to Toomey, a vacancy isn’t a “It’s not that big a deal.”


               Washington Post Op-Ed: Republicans’ Supreme Court Contortions

Sen. Ron Johnson plays a mean game of Twister.

Right hand red! “Let’s let the American people decide and let the next president nominate.”

Left foot blue! “I never said that we shouldn’t vote.”

Left hand yellow! “I would also say that doing nothing is an action.”

Right foot green! “By the time I would actually take the vote if it comes to that I’ll take a vote.”

TPM: GOP Sen. Says He Would Be Willing to Vote on Obama SCOTUS Nominee

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who is running for re-election this year against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), on Tuesday said that he is not opposed to the Senate taking a vote on President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away over the weekend.

In a Sunday statement, Johnson echoed the calls of his fellow Republican senators, who have said that the next president should choose Scalia’s replacement.

“I’ve never said that I wouldn’t vote, or that we shouldn’t vote,” Johnson said in an interview on the “The Jerry Bader Show” highlighted by the Huffington Post. “I have no idea how the process plays out, I’m not in control of it. I’m not the majority leader, I’m not chairman of the Judiciary. By the time I would actually take the vote, if it comes to that, I’ll take a vote.”

Huffington Post: GOP Senator Now Says He’s Willing To Vote On Obama Supreme Court Nominee

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is trying to pre-empt criticism his party may face for refusing to move forward on President Barack Obama’s expected Supreme Court nominee, arguing Tuesday that “doing nothing is also an action”…

Johnson was a bit more defensive about his comments during a radio interview Tuesday on “The Jerry Bader Show,” trying to justify blocking a nominee and saying he’d be open to voting on someone.

…”I’ve never said that I wouldn’t vote, or that we shouldn’t vote. … I have no idea how the process plays out, I’m not in control of it. I’m not the majority leader, I’m not chairman of the Judiciary. By the time I would actually take the vote, if it comes to that, I’ll take a vote,” Johnson said.

…”I would also say that doing nothing is also an action, kind of bolstering the advice that, let’s let the American people decide through their vote who the next president is that should make that appointment,” he added. “So again, I think it’s blown way out of proportion, quite honestly, what the people have said.

RE: “DOING NOTHING IS ALSO AN ACTION.” Johnson’s defense of his obstruction could play double-duty in his reelection, as he tries to explain to Wisconsin voters why they may not know who he is: according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ron Johnson is still a blank slate.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: KOCH-CONNECTED DARK MONEY GROUPS WANT A VACANT COURT. A dark money group with ties to the Koch brothers announced an ad blitz benefiting the vulnerable GOP senators obstructing the constitutional process, including Senators Ayotte, Toomey, Portman, Johnson and McCain. Each senator has accepted money from the Kochs, earned a high rating from the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and opposed efforts to reverse the damaging Citizens United decision.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The damage is done. Mitch McConnell directed his caucus not to do their jobs, so this fall, voters will have a chance to elect U.S. Senators who will actually do the work.


FLORIDA – Patrick Murphy was endorsed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the International Association of Ironworkers. Murphy has earned the support of other major unions, including AFSCME and the Florida Teamsters.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Governor Maggie Hassan spoke before a “standing-room-only crowd” at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday about the strength of New Hampshire’s economy, including its low unemployment rate and increasing budget surplus.

ILLINOIS – Tammy Duckworth met with laid-off steelworkers in Granite City and spoke about how she would fight to keep jobs in the United States. She also made stops in Belleville and at a steamfitters union office in Caseyville.

OHIO – Ted Strickland announced the endorsement of 124 Southeastern Ohio Democratic leaders. He has also been endorsed by coalitions of Democratic leaders in Northwestern and Northeastern Ohio.

WISCONSIN – Russ Feingold announced his Badger Innovation Plan to grow Wisconsin businesses and boost job opportunities. Feingold has been traveling the state to share his ideas and hear from business owners to help develop his plan.

MORE WISCONSIN – The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin endorsed Russ Feingold on Tuesday. He’s already received numerous endorsements from other labor organizations, including UAW, SEIU, AFSCME, and LIUNA.

NORTH CAROLINA – The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education and the North Carolina Association of Educators endorsedDeborah Ross, praising her record of being a strong voice for public education.

NEVADA – It looks like there is more GOP trouble in Nevada. Jon Ralston reported that Sharron Angle is fundraising for her PAC, indicating a potential Senate bid. This comes as Republicans worry about the direction of Republican Joe Heck’s campaign.

TWEET OF THE WEEK – This week’s Tweet of the Week goes to Adam Jentleson for a special look at how the NRSC strategy went this week:


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