82 Organizations Condemn GOP Judiciary Committee Members’ Unprecedented Obstruction on SCOTUS Vacancy and Urge Them to Uphold the Constitution

Categories: Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

WASHINGTONToday, a broad coalition of 82 civil rights, voting rights, public interest, environmental, labor, religious, and education groups sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and the 10 other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemning their recent announcement that they will refuse to hold a hearing on—or even meet with—any potential Supreme Court nominee. The organizations are calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee members to do their jobs and give fair consideration to the next nominee to the Supreme Court.

The Republican Senate Judiciary members’ unprecedented refusal to consider any nominee without evaluation of his or her merits and credentials is a direct repudiation of the Constitution which they swore to uphold. As the letter states, “It is a dereliction of your constitutional duty to handcuff the Supreme Court for two terms. Your proposed course of action would cause a constitutional crisis that would shake the very foundation of our democracy.”

“Under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President shall nominate a Justice to the Supreme Court ‘by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.’ This does not give a select few senators veto power over the President’s role in selecting and nominating a candidate,” the groups wrote. “The Senate’s duty is to evaluate a nominee’s fitness and qualifications, not to pick the President making the nomination.”

Click here for a PDF of the letter.

The letter in full and a list of its signers are below.

February 26, 2016

The Honorable Charles Grassley, Chairman

The Honorable Orrin Hatch

The Honorable Jeff Sessions

The Honorable Lindsey Graham

The Honorable John Cornyn

The Honorable Michael Lee

The Honorable Ted Cruz

The Honorable Jeff Flake

The Honorable David Vitter

The Honorable David Perdue

The Honorable Thom Tillis

Committee on the Judiciary

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senators:

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to reconsider your unprecedented and destructive refusal to give fair consideration to any Supreme Court nomination until after the next President is sworn into office on January 20, 2017, as announced in your February 23rd letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Your letter claims that your refusal to hold a hearing on—or to even meet with— any potential nominee is part and parcel to executing your “constitutional authority to withhold consent on any nominee.” This is a clear perversion of your constitutional duties as understood by almost every scholarly authority on the topic and by most Americans.

It is a dereliction of your constitutional duty to handcuff the Supreme Court for two terms. Your proposed course of action would cause a constitutional crisis that would shake the very foundation of our democracy.

We condemn this unprecedented overreach, and call on you to uphold the Constitution by giving fair consideration, including timely hearings and votes, to the next nominee to the Supreme Court.

Under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President shall nominate a Justice to the Supreme Court “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” This does not give a select few senators veto power over the President’s role in selecting and nominating a candidate. The Senate’s duty is to evaluate a nominee’s fitness and qualifications, not to pick the President making the nomination.

Our legal system is based on the rule of law and requires stability and certainty. The course you have charted would mean that a new justice would not be confirmed until well into 2017 at the earliest. Shackling the court for two terms would undermine the rule of law, leave legal questions unresolved, and hamper the administration of justice across our nation.

Refusing to consider any nominee, without due evaluation of his or her merits, credentials, and experiences is a direct repudiation of your constitutional duties.

We believe in upholding the Constitution. So should you.

Sincerely,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

A. Philip Randolph Institute

AFL-CIO

African American Ministers In Action

Alliance for Justice

American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity

American Association For Justice

American Family Voices

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

American Federation of Teachers

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Americans United for Change

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Center for American Progress

Center for Community Change

Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc. (CPACS)

Coalition on Human Needs

Common Cause

Communications Workers of America

Constitutional Accountability Center

Defenders of Wildlife

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Earthjustice

Equal Justice Society

Feminist Majority Foundation

Human Rights Campaign

International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA)

Iota Phi Lamda Sorority, Inc.

Japanese American Citizen League

Jewish Labor Committee

Korean American Resource & Cultural Center

Korean Resource Center

Lambda Legal

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

League of Conservation Voters

League of United Latin American Citizens

MALDEF

MoveOn.org Civic Action

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

NAACP-National Voter Fund

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

National Black Justice Coalition

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Congress of American Indians

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Employment Lawyers Association

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

National Tongan American Society

National Urban League

National Women’s Law Center

People For the American Way

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

PolicyLink

Project Vote

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Service Employees International Union

Sierra Club

South Asian Bar Association of North America

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southern Poverty Law Center

TASH

Union for Reform Judaism

United Auto Workers (UAW)

Workmen’s Circle

CC: The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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