LWVUS President, Deborah Turner, and CEO, Virginia Kase sent a memo to the U.S. Senate urging them to prioritize American families hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic over the pending U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
September 25, 2020
To: Members of the U.S. Senate
From: League of Women Voters of the United States
Re: Filling the U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy
Less than a week ago, the nation lost a key member of our judicial branch of government, who also served as the Supreme Court’s conscience on issues of civil and voting rights, with the passing of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Following the public announcement of her passing, the League of Women Voters of the United States has become deeply concerned by the expediency with which the U.S. Senate has chosen to nominate and appoint a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice to fill the vacancy.
Four years ago, Senate leaders set a precedent for how the confirmation process should occur during a presidential election year, by leaving the ninth justice seat open for more than 300 days. Now, with less than 40 days from one of the most important elections our country has seen, the U.S. Senate is choosing to do an about-face on the precedent set at that time. Furthermore, the U.S. Senate is rushing to support a process for a nominee who has not even been named. It should be clear— the Senate’s priorities need to shift since there is insufficient time to thoroughly vet any potential judicial appointee. A lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is too important to rush. If 300 days was too soon to fill the seat in 2016, then it’s undeniably too soon now.
The needs of the American people must come first. Since May, the U.S. Senate has refused to vote on necessary economic relief for working families, unemployment benefits, and provisions that would ensure access to necessary healthcare for a nation in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Each Senator has a duty to the American people - all the people – not just those who voted for them. The U.S. Senate must protect our elections and provide relief for the millions of Americans currently being hurt by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has already claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans, the highest death toll in the world. The hurt that Americans are facing during this ongoing pandemic is undeniable and the Senate has a responsibility to our country to prioritize American families.
The American people deserve a U.S. Senate that keeps Americans safe while it builds trust in our systems of government and ensures the longstanding independence of the judicial branch. The current posturing of the U.S. Senate undermines the faith of Americans in our democracy and the sanctity of the U.S. Supreme Court. The American people deserve a Supreme Court confirmation process that builds trust in our democracy and ensures an independent judiciary without compromising any more lives.
The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a profound loss to all Americans. But an even greater loss to Americans would be a loss of faith in the U.S. Senate and the enduring faith in our democratic principles.
Deborah Turner, President Virginia Kase, CEO
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Now is not the time to rush a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court.