Supreme Court Obstruction

In February, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court. It is President Obama’s constitutional duty to present a nominee to the Senate for the Supreme Court vacancy, and the Senate Republican Caucus’ constitutional duty to provide “advice and consent” regarding the nominee.  President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, who is eminently qualified and deserves a fair hearing and a vote.

And yet, we have seen an unprecedented level of stonewalling from Senate Republicans. July 19 marked 125 days since Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by the President to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court – and the 125th day that Senate Republicans have ignored the clear will of voters by refusing to have a hearing for someone with more federal judicial experience than any other nominee in history. It’s a record-breaking milestone of obstruction. According to the NYT: “The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a successor from the time of nomination.”

Most voters don’t have jobs where they get to pick and choose the parts they want to do and blow off the rest.

The longer the Supreme Court remains ideologically split 4-4, the more dysfunction and uncertainty it breeds for businesses and millions of people who are awaiting justice. Signs of that dysfunction have been apparent in recent months: “Cases large and small are ending in tie votes. The pace of decisions has slowed slightly, and fewer new cases are being granted.”  A prime example of how the GOP’s self-serving political scheme to ‘Trump the Court’ is having real life consequences came with SCOTUS’ heartbreaking split decision on the President’s Executive Action on immigration. The 4-4 tie vote meant an overreaching lower court ruling stands, in effect blocking the President’s program deferring the deportation of 5 million undocumented immigrants who have family members born in the U.S. As a result, millions of immigrants that contribute to the economy and want to get right with the law and pay taxes will once again be cast into the shadows and live in constant fear of their families being ripped apart.  The Supreme Court was still a Justice down over four months after Scalia died was unable to deliver a clear decision on an issue as nationally important as immigration – and our economy will suffer for it.

And by trying to wait for Donald Trump to nominate the next justice, conservative Senators are holding the door open for the most dangerous and divisive presidential candidate in recent memory to tilt the balance of the court to the extreme right. Trump’s litmus test would require a potential justice to support policies like banning all Muslims from the U.S., or hunting down all undocumented workers with a “deportation force”, or throwing women in jail for having an abortion. 

That’s why we need to send the message to Senate Republicans that refusing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy is unacceptable. We know that the majority of the American people want Justice Scalia to be replaced by President Obama.

We must tell Senate Republicans: Do Your Job. Fill the Seat. They must hear from their constituents that it is simply unacceptable to back the McConnell-Grassley scheme to deny a fair hearing and up-or-down vote to Judge Garland.

Questions to Ask:

  1. [For a U.S. Senator:] Do you agree with the McConnell-Grassley plan to refuse to do their job and give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote?
  2. [For others:] Do you think it’s acceptable that Senate Republicans are refusing to Do Their Job and give Judge Garland a fair hearing and an up or down vote?
  3. Will you call on your colleagues to stop the unprecedented level of obstruction and do their jobs?
  4. Why do you think it’s okay for the US Senate to go on a 7-week recess, when hardworking Americans don’t get a 7 week paid vacation?