Letter to Leader Schumer Urging Confirmation of Pending Judicial Nominees
Dear Majority Leader Schumer,
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the undersigned 62 organizations, we write to emphasize the importance of our federal judiciary and the need to continue confirming experientially and demographically diverse judges who are committed to civil and human rights. We are sorry to hear that you and other members of your caucus have unfortunately tested positive for COVID, and we wish you a full recovery. We also commend your spirit and tenacity in continuing to lead while quarantining. We urge you to use this next work period to confirm all Article III judicial nominees who have received a Senate Judiciary Committee vote before August and postpone the August recess if necessary until this is accomplished.
The civil rights community has long understood the importance of our federal courts and has worked tirelessly to advocate for a judiciary that is fair, independent, diverse, and committed to providing equal justice for all. As you know, our federal courts are not working for all of us; they have been stacked in favor of the wealthy and powerful and against our civil and human rights. This has been made painfully clear by the recent cruel decisions by the extremist majority of the Supreme Court, which has flouted promises to respect long-standing legal protections, and has, for the first time in history, overturned precedent in order to take away a fundamental constitutional right.
To meet this moment, we must seize every opportunity to continue the long-term work of creating a judiciary that will restore and protect civil and human rights for future generations. In addition to the ongoing congressional efforts to codify access to abortion, a critical part of our path forward is to create a judiciary that works for everyone — one that is staffed with diverse judges committed to the civil and human rights of all people. This is urgent work that cannot wait.
We applaud your leadership and the historic pace at which you have led the Senate to confirm 69 lifetime nominees thus far during the 117th Congress. This pace is remarkable, and we are encouraged that many of these nominees possess demonstrated commitments to civil and human rights and come from communities historically excluded from the federal bench. Yet, there is significantly more progress to be made.
Currently, there are 17 Article III nominees on the Senate’s executive calendar, including seven nominees to circuit courts and another three Article III nominees awaiting a discharge vote. In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to process nominees, and recently held a hearing for another four judicial nominees, including two circuit court nominees. We understand there are important legislative priorities, but we urge you to attend to the confirmation of Article III nominees in the pipeline during this next Senate work period.
The Judiciary Committee has done remarkable work moving those nominations to the floor. Now the full Senate must vote on these nominations and show the nation that an equal justice judiciary is possible because of your commitment to confirming outstanding jurists. Further delay will jeopardize efforts to create a stronger federal judiciary.
Thank you for your critical work to protect the civil and human rights of all people in America. We look forward to continuing to work with you to build a judiciary that lives up to its promise of equal justice under law.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
African American Ministers In Action
Alliance for Justice
American Association of People with Disabilities
American Constitution Society
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Catholics for Choice
Center for Disability Rights
Committee for a Fair Judiciary (CFJ)
Constitutional Accountability Center
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund
Equal Justice Society
Freedom from Religion Foundation
Friends of the Earth
Human Rights Campaign
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
League of Conservation Voters
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Action Network
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Council of Jewish Women
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Legal Aid & Defender Association
National Urban League
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Population Connection Action Fund
She Will Rise
SPLC Action Fund
Stand Up America
Take Back the Court Action Fund
The Climate Reality Project
Union of Concerned Scientists
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Women Lawyers On Guard Action Network, Inc.