WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in advance of the February 18 anniversary of Justice Anthony Kennedy taking the oath of office to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Kennedy was nominated by President Reagan in November 1987 and confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Senate 97-0 during an election year on February 3, 1988. Kennedy is one of six justices who were confirmed by the Senate during an election year since 1900:
“The anniversary of Justice Kennedy’s swearing in is even more proof that the Senate can and should work on a bipartisan basis to ensure a full bench on the Supreme Court in 2016. Six justices have been confirmed during election years and to suggest otherwise is peddling fiction.
When he nominated Kennedy, President Reagan called on the Senate ‘to join together in a bipartisan effort to fulfill our constitutional obligation of restoring the United States Supreme Court to full strength.’
And in an election year, the Democratic-controlled Senate did just that.
The work of the Supreme Court is too important to the nation to allow a vacancy to go unfilled for an extended period of time. Senator McConnell and those following his lead are taking obstruction to new heights of cynicism and are flirting with a constitutional crisis of their own making.
We urge the Senate to look to the Constitution, to history, and to common sense and work with President Obama to confirm a justice in the months ahead.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 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.