At Supreme Court, Congressional Progressive Caucus Members, American Workers Urge Senate Republicans to ‘Do Your Job’ and Hold Hearings, Vote for Merrick Garland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2016

Contact: Laura Epstein or Drew Courtney at People For the American Way

Email: media@pfaw.org

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Other: Array

On Wednesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined with working Americans to call on Senate Republicans to do their job and hold hearings and an up-or-down vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland. The rally was organized by People For the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn.org Civic Action, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO Action, the American Federation of Government Employees, and the Communications Workers of America, and cohosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Key statements:

Jessica Smith, third-year law student at Howard University School of Law: “It has been my job as a clerk and legal intern to leverage my knowledge of the constitution to serve those at the margins and to make arguments on behalf of others. I have worked long hours in pursuit of those goals, I have done my job, and I have excelled. Today I stand before you and demand that the US Senate do its job — just like hardworking law students across this country. Purposefully keeping the Supreme Court understaffed, as some senators are proposing, is indefensible.”

Sadia White, retired educator: “As a teacher, principal and central office executive had I just decided to not do my job, the results would have been monumental.  (1) Students would not have fulfilled their potential and would have lost out academically (2) I would have been found in contempt of my contract and (3) we would lose the public’s trust. So that’s why I am here today alongside many others to ask you that you, Republican Senators, DO YOUR JOB!”

Aiden Irish, food and agricultural policy consultant at Waterkeepers Chesapeake: “I have been given me the opportunity to have a voice in improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its communities. This work is rarely easy. Yet inaction is never an option. To simply refuse to participate in the tasks before me, for any reason, would undermine the efforts of my colleagues, it would contradict the terms of my contract, and, most importantly, it would disrespect the gift of having a voice in an important discussion. To the U.S. Senate; do not forget the profound privilege granted to you by the American people. As public servants you have a duty to consider the president's Supreme Court nominee–to hold a hearing and vote.”

Rep. Keith Ellison: “Americans go to work every single day and do their job. They expect their elected officials to do the same. Senate Republicans should stop denying the American people a full Supreme Court for political purposes, and hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee this month. There are too many important issues before the court to not have a full bench – issues such as people’s access to the ballot box, a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, how consumers can hold powerful corporate interests accountable, and the influence of money in politics. #DoYourJob.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva: “Refusing to do their job would mean a pink slip for most Americans, and yet Senate Republicans continue to hold our judicial system hostage because they want to set separate rules for President Obama. Let’s be clear – President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty to nominate a justice and now the Senate is obligated to perform theirs. There’s no exception for election years or for the political affiliation of a sitting president.”

President J. David Cox, Sr., AFGE National President: “There are too many pressing issues facing the court to allow a vacancy to linger. President Obama is the commander in chief until Jan. 20, 2017 and the 100 members of the U.S. Senate have a responsibility to do the job that the American people elected them to do. Anything less is obstructionist and a miscarriage of justice.”

Marge Baker, People For the American Way (PFAW) Executive Vice President: “Every day, millions of Americans go to work and do their jobs, and we expect nothing less from the people elected to represent us in Congress. It’s time for Republican Senators to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities by holding hearings and a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.”

Jo Comerford, MoveOn.org Civic Action Campaign Director: “MoveOn members from across the country are proud to stand with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in urging Senate Republicans to do their jobs and consider the President’s nominee. In President Obama’s final year, Republicans want to do everything they can to obstruct and undermine his presidency, including saying they won’t consider any nominee President Obama puts forward to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. The stakes are simply too high to allow a partisan shutdown of a constitutionally-mandated process.”

Heidi Hess, CREDO Senior Campaign Manager: “Republican obstructionists are trying to keep the Supreme Court under right-wing control by refusing to do their jobs. It’s a cynical and unprecedented power grab – and the American people aren’t falling for it. President Obama has done his job under the Constitution and it is time for Senate Republicans to do theirs.”

Please email media@pfaw.org for pictures from today's events.

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