(WASHINGTON – July 9, 2018) – “In his more than three decades of service on the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the deciding vote in a number of narrow 5-4 rulings, particularly in landmark civil rights cases. Every day and with every decision, we have witnessed how the lives of historically dis-enfranchised communities have been impacted by the Supreme Court – too often for the worst. The Court is now at a crossroad that could not only reshape the court for generations to come, but also, the public’s faith in the Court. Tonight, President Trump has indicated that he will announce his chose to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court.

The framers of the Constitution understood the importance of checks and balances and the past 18 months have been a testament to the invaluable role the federal judiciary can and should play as a critical check on the executive branch. However, the Senate’s coordinated attack on not only the integrity of the judiciary, but also, the confirmation process has eroded the public’s faith in our judicial system. We cannot allow this erosion to further undermine the public’s faith in most powerful Court in our Country.

This is a defining moment not only for the Court, but also, the United States Senate. I caution the U.S. Senate not to move too hastily on voting to confirm this nominee. In light, of the “McConnell Rule” that was instituted in 2016, which was also an election year, the question becomes why not allow the American people to vote this November in order for the new Senate to confirm or reject this nominee.  Interestingly, and not forgotten, is the fact the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the U.S. Senate would not even consider President Obama’s nominee in 2016.  Senator McConnell made this announcement before the President Obama even announced his choice just hours after Justice Antonin Scalia death.  In this moment of uncertainty, it is important that all Americans have faith in the integrity of the process and we urge every to Senator to renew their commitment to the integrity and the consistency of the confirmation process.  Both Republicans and Democrats must reject any process that ignores the checks and balances between branches of government, creates political hypocrisy, and that will further destabilize the public’s faith in the federal judiciary.”