With a lifetime appointment, the incoming justice will touch nearly every American's life when the Court hears the next civil, human, and voting rights cases. With a Court currently divided five to four on some of the country's most pressing issues, the incoming justice will likely cast the deciding vote each and every time. Regardless of the issue – access to health care, fair elections, equitable education policy, voting rights – the Court plays a critical role in protecting people's rights when all other institutions fail.
Yesterday, President Trump nominated a second justice to the US Supreme Court since taking office less than two years ago. This important announcement fell on the 150th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects birthright citizenship, equal protection under the law, and the right to due process. The high court continues to interpret these issues. It's also the amendment that this Administration has attacked the most.
The President's first SCOTUS nominee began almost immediately after he took office in January 2017. At that time, the League of Women Voters spoke out about just how crucial the president’s first nomination would be because of its long-term and widespread impact on millions of people in the country. Specifically, the League of Women Voters believed that the appointment would play a major role in the course of American democracy and could cause a deeper divide among the Court. And it has. Since Justice Gorsuch’s appointment, the Court's decisions on voting rights cases have largely diminished people's rights or stalled clarity around important voting rights, elections, campaign finance, and redistricting issues.
With the gravity of this nomination, the League of Women Voters continues to believe that any Supreme Court nominee must share their views on these fundamental issues. We bring four questions for the nominee:
Is voting rights enforcement a vital component of our representational democracy, or can limitations be justified under our Constitution?
What is the role of federal courts in ensuring the United States conducts a full count of every person in the country every ten years?
Do procedural issues take precedence over the spirit of legislative action in relation to the Equal Rights Amendment?
What is the role of federal courts in protecting our system of checks and balances so that no one branch of government can dominate the others?
The League of Women Voters urges the Senate to explore these four fundamental questions with any nominee before confirming or rejecting the next Supreme Court justice. The American people deserve to know where a nominee stands on these basic principles, as the Court's decisions will affect the direction of our democracy for decades to come.