Click here to tell the Senate to fulfill their Constitutional duty and fill the vacant SCOTUS seat now #DoYourJob!
When President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, most people thought he'd made a reasonable suggestion.* Whether you support or oppose Garland individually, it's hard to argue that he's not qualified and deserving of at least a hearing. But Mitch McConnell is leading a Senate insurgency that refuses to even meet with Garland, let alone hold a hearing and a vote on his nomination.
That's not just rude, it's really dangerous for our planet. The Supreme Court just heard arguments this morning on their first major clean water case since Antonin Scalia died.** The case has to do with which streams and wetlands are subject to Clean Water Act protections, and it could have big, precedent-setting implications for the Waters of the US rule, which is one of President Obama's signature environmental achievements. And that's just the first case in the cue to be heard by the Supreme Court! Other achievements like the Clean Power Plan and even the Paris climate agreement could be tried before this hobbled, deadlocked court soon.
That's the bad news. The good news is there are already cracks developing in the Senate opposition. Yesterday, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois became the first Republican to meet with Judge Garland. Despite pressure from party leaders not to consider his nomination, Kirk said, "We need rational, adult, open-minded consideration of the constitutional process.”***
This proves there is an urgent, environmental need to give Garland a fair hearing, and that our massive online petition drive telling the Senate to #DoYourJob is working. But you still haven't signed on. Can you click here to tell the Senate to fulfill their Constitutional duty and give Farland a fair hearing and a vote now?
Drew and the SCOTUS crew at Environmental Action
* Sarah Almukhtar, Why Obama Nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, The New York Times, March 16, 2016
** Eric Wolff et all, SCOTUS hears first big environmental case without Scalia, Politico, March 30, 2016
*** Emmarie Huetteman, Republican Senator Meets With Garland, and Urges Colleagues to Follow, The New York Times, March 29, 2016
PS - Anthony's email from last week is below in case you want more background on Garland and the nomination process thus far.
Article 2 Section 2 of our Constitution clearly states that the President shall have the power to nominate judges to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).1 The Constitution also stipulates that the Senate shall advise and provide consent for the President's nominations. But don't tell that to Senate Majority Leader Mitch "King Coal" McConnell who has directed GOP Senators not to even meet with President Obama's nominee Judge Merrick Garland.2
McConnell is even making up rules to rationalize his "talk to the hand" approach our third co-equal branch of government.3 He claims to believe that the American people should have a vote in the selection of the next Justice, and that we should therefore wait until AFTER the next Presidential election. But here's the thing, as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pointed out, the American people HAVE made their choice, when they elected President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012.4
If McConnell and his friends have their way, our SCOTUS will essentially remain a Penalty Killing Unity for over 300 days, and major cases that have huge implications for our climate and natural resources will be put on hold -- time our climate and environment simply don't have. That's why we're teaming up with Daily Kos, Courage Campaign, American Federation of Teachers and others to demand Judge Garland get a fair hearing. Click here to tell the Senate to fulfill their Constitutional duty and fill the vacant SCOTUS seat now.
This is another case of our broken Legislative Branch playing politics instead of working in the public interest. When you consider the important cases hanging in the balance -- from the Clean Power Plan and the Mercury Rule to the future of climate Justice -- this is no time to be playing games. Judge Garland has already been confirmed by the Senate for his job on the D.C. circuit Court, just one level below the Supreme Court. And even a close colleague of McConnell's, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) once said that, "there was no question that Garland could be confirmed to SCOTUS."5
Never in the history of our nation has SCOTUS not been in full capacity for 300 days. This is no time to be making history, there are far too many things that demand attention from our highest court. What's really happening here is that McConnell is hoping to buy time for a GOP President to nominate a Justice who will roll back our progress on climate change, clean water and more. But it's not the Senate's job to overrule the President in this way -- it's their job to advise and consent on his nominees to the court. Click here to tell the Senate to get off the bench and do their job by placing a Justice on it.
Thanks for Sounding Off,
Anthony for Environmental Action
1. Article 2 Section 2, United States Constitution.
2. Demirjian, Karoun. Republicans Refuse to Budge Following Garland Nomination to Supreme Court. The Washington Post. March 16, 2016.
3. Fernandez, Nick. Sunday Shows Allow McConnel to Push False "Biden Rule" as Precedent for SCOTUS Obstruction. Media Matters. March 20, 2016.
4. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Republicans: Do Your Job on a Supreme Court Nominee.
5. McCarter, Joan. Orrin Hatch Tying Himself in Knots Explaining Why he Supported Nominee Garland in 1997, But Won't Now. Daily Kos. March 22, 2016.