Senate Democrats To Host Public Meeting TOMORROW To Hear From Those Who Know Chief Judge Garland

Justice Delayed As Senate Republicans Refuse To Consider Supreme Court Nominee

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, May 17, 2016) – Senate Republicans continue to refuse to do their job and consider Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, leaving the High Court with just eight justices.  The result is a Supreme Court that cannot operate at full strength, unable to resolve important cases affecting millions of Americans.  

In an editorial Tuesday, the New York Times wrote “Every day that passes without a ninth justice undermines the Supreme Court’s ability to function, and leaves millions of Americans waiting for justice or clarity as major legal questions are unresolved.”

While the Court was unable this week to reach agreement on two important cases affecting millions of Americans, it has already deadlocked at least three other times. As a recent Economist article noted, “By letting lower-court decisions stand but not requiring other courts to abide by the ruling, the stage is set for odd state-by-state or district-by-district distinctions when it comes to the meaning of laws or the constitution.”

The Supreme Court is also taking up fewer cases for the next term.  The news site FiveThirtyEight noted that next year, the Court “may see the lightest caseload in its already-light recent history.” 

In the last 100 years, no Supreme Court nominee has been denied a hearing and a vote.  Senate Republicans met behind closed doors to decide not to take up a nomination this year, rejecting a century of Senate tradition and leaving the Supreme Court without its full complement of justices. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats will convene tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in Dirksen 562 for a public meeting to discuss the importance of a fully functioning Supreme Court, and to hear from some of those who know Chief Judge Garland personally and can speak to his lengthy public service career.

“Republicans’ refusal to do their jobs and consider Chief Judge Garland’s nomination diminishes the role of the Supreme Court,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said.  “This is an individual who has received praise across the political spectrum.  But instead of delving into his lengthy public service record for themselves, Republicans have decided to outsource their jobs to outside interest groups who have spent millions of dollars to smear Chief Judge Garland.”

Leahy added: “The public discussion we are convening allows Senators, the press, and the public to learn more about this highly qualified nominee and the importance of a fully functioning Supreme Court.  I hope all Senators will join us for this public meeting.” 

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Senate Democrats’ Public Meeting to Discuss the Qualifications of Chief Judge Merrick Garland
To Serve on the U.S. Supreme Court

Donna Bucella.  Former prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case and current President of Compliance for Guidepost Solutions.  She recently joined with other prosecutors on a letter in support of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination.

Justin Driver.  Former law clerk to Chief Judge Garland and current University of Chicago Law School Professor of Law.  Driver has spoken publicly about his time clerking for Chief Judge Garland and joined with former clerks in a letter of support for his nomination.

Rodney Slater.  Former Secretary of Transportation and current Partner at Squire Patton Boggs.  He previously served as the first African American Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.  Slater joined with civil rights leaders in support of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination.

Judge Timothy K. Lewis.  Former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and current Partner at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis in Pittsburgh.  He was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and served for seven years on the appellate court.  Judge Lewis previously testified in support of Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court.

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