By Katie Stancombe
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill urged the state’s two senators to approve President Donald Trump’s nomination to fill the empty U.S. Supreme Court seat.
Hill’s press conference Wednesday was one of 11 organized by the Judicial Crisis Network held across the nation in states with vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018. The press conferences were urging support for Neil Gorsuch, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge nominated to the Supreme Court.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill gives his support for President Donald Trump’s nomination for the empty Supreme Court seat, Neil Gorsuch. The press conference was held in conjunction with the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group. Photo by Katie Stancombe, TheStatehouseFile.com
“They have to decide whether they want to align themselves with the obstructionist Democrat Party,” said Carrie Severino, chief council of the Judicial Crisis Network. “There’s a lot of moderates who think that Judge Gorsuch deserves an up or down vote in this issue, but there are a lot of people on the left who are pushing for obstruction, obstruction, obstruction.”
The Judicial Crisis Network is an advocacy group dedicated to ensuring that state and federal courts and staff executive branch offices are filled with individuals who share conservative values. It has committed $10 million to the pro-Gorsuch campaign.
In a statement released by the JCN in January, Severino said that the advocacy group would be launching the “most robust campaign for a Supreme Court nominee in history.” The statement also said that they would try to force Indiana U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly to make the tough decision of approving or rejecting Gorsuch.
“He’s in a state that went for Trump, so he’s got to decide whether he sides with the majority of his state or whether he wants to align himself with the people trying to obstruct this nomination,” Severino said, adding that upwards of $1 million will be spent on the pro-Gorsuch campaign in Indiana.
When asked if he was worried about whether Donnelly would give Gorsuch an up or down vote, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said he wasn’t concerned.
“My role here is to make sure that we in Indiana voice our concern and support in a genuinely solid choice on the Supreme Court,” Hill said. “And we’re ready to get the Supreme Court back up to nine people.”
Hill said he thinks both parties bear responsibility for the long wait to fill the empty Supreme Court seat left open by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly in February 2016.
Following Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans refused to consider then-President Obama’s nominee for the seat.
“It’s about time that both parties play ball and recognizing that it’s valuable to get replacements on the court as quickly as possible and quit playing politics,” Hill said.
When asked why he called a press conference to show support for Gorsuch, Hill said as Indiana’s lawyer, he works with the Supreme Court on a regular basis and recognized that without all nine seats filled, decisions made would be evenly divided.
“It’s imperative, not just for the state of Indiana. It’s imperative that all attorneys generals across the country want to have a full membership so we can have our decisions made in a timely manner,” Hill said.
Hill was elected in November, replacing Greg Zoeller.
Katie Stancombe is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.