Wyden, Merkley, Democratic Senators Join in Call for Bipartisan Action on Supreme Court Nomination
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today joined their Democratic Senate colleagues in calling on Senate Republicans to sign a letter requesting a hearing to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Every Democrat in the Senate has agreed to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley pushing for transparency and action in the Supreme Court nomination process. Senate Democrats are keeping the letter open for signatures and encouraging Republican senators to sign it and allow the process to move forward on the nomination of Merrick Garland.
“A public hearing would allow Americans to engage in the process of considering the nomination and hearing directly from Chief Judge Garland on his record and his responses on important legal questions,” the senators wrote in the letter.
“We stand ready to fulfill our sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution by providing advice and consent on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination,” they also wrote.
Read the full text of the open letter below.
The Honorable Mitch McConnell The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
317 Russell Senate Office Building 224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley:
This week marks one month since Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We stand ready to fulfill our sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution by providing advice and consent on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination. That is what an overwhelming majority of Americans are demanding we do. A recent poll shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – say that Senators should do their jobs and proceed with a hearing for Chief Judge Garland. We urge you to listen to the American people and allow all Senators to do our jobs by giving Chief Judge Garland a hearing and a vote.
No nominee has ever been treated this way. Since public confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominees began in the Judiciary Committee in 1916, the Senate has never denied a Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote. We urge you to consider Chief Judge Garland’s nomination consistent with the average confirmation schedule for Supreme Court nominees since 1975 based on data from the Congressional Research Service. Following this precedent, the Judiciary Committee should commence hearings on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination by April 27 and hold a Committee vote by May 12. The full Senate should vote on his nomination by Memorial Day.
In the month that Chief Judge Garland’s nomination has been pending, the Supreme Court has already deadlocked twice and was not able to carry out its constitutional role as the final arbiter of our Nation’s laws. Where you live will impact what your rights are. That is unacceptable and harms our constitutional democracy. Your refusal to consider Chief Judge Garland’s nomination means the Supreme Court will be weakened and unable to fulfill its constitutional role for two terms.
We are encouraged that members of both parties have begun to meet with Chief Judge Garland as the first step to his confirmation process in the Senate. Meeting with Chief Judge Garland is also a basic courtesy to this fair-minded, accomplished nominee, who has spent almost three decades in public service and has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history. He has committed much of his life to public service – from his days at the Justice Department working as a prosecutor on the ground in the aftermath of the devastating Oklahoma City bombing to his nearly two decades as a Federal appellate judge. Every Senator should agree to shake his hand and sit down to meet with him.
Meeting with Chief Judge Garland, however, is only the first step. A full and fair examination of his record at a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee is needed before the full Senate votes on his nomination. It is no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Americans want Chief Judge Garland to have a public hearing. A public hearing would allow Americans to engage in the process of considering the nomination and hearing directly from Chief Judge Garland on his record and his responses on important legal questions.
One of the Senate’s most important and solemn responsibilities to is to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. We have heard the American people. We urge you to listen to them and allow Senators to do their jobs by considering Chief Judge Garland’s nomination without further delay.
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