WASHINGTON, April 6, 2017—In response to the news that Senate Republicans have chosen to invoke the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules to require only a majority vote to confirm Supreme Court nominees, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
This is a sad day for the Senate, for the Supreme Court, and for the American people. When the Republicans’ extreme Supreme Court nominee—who has shown time and again that he puts the interests of the powerful above individual rights—failed to earn the 60 votes needed to confirm him, they immediately chose to blow up Senate rules rather than selecting a consensus nominee or even consulting with their colleagues to try to find another solution.
While unconscionable, this move is completely in line with the Republicans’ shameful past actions on the Supreme Court. From refusing to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee before they even knew who it was, to now throwing out the window two centuries of Senate rules and traditions, Republicans have made clear that they will single-mindedly pursue their right-wing agenda at any cost. No Republican senator can ever call themselves moderate after today.
We applaud all of the Senate Democrats who stood firm against this troubling nominee and against the Republicans’ decision to destroy the rules in order to get their way. Everyday Americans should be able to trust that their fundamental rights will be protected by the Supreme Court, and that their representatives in Congress respect our democracy enough not to blow up the process just to get the outcome they want. Today’s actions are a betrayal of the American people. Placing Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court will restore the destructive Roberts Court 5-4 majority that has already harmed the rights of workers, consumers, women, voters, and all Americans, and threatens to do even more damage in the future.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy. www.pfaw.org