Common Cause Urges President, Senate, to Move Quickly on Supreme Court Vacancy

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  • Scott Swenson, Dale Eisman
Time to "Move Beyond the Politics of Obstruction and Polarization"

Statement by Common Cause President Miles Rapoport

Common Cause mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and extends our sympathy to his family, friends, colleagues, and the many people he touched in his life. 

The Constitution requires that no matter when they occur, vacancies on the court are to be filled by the President with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.  As recently as 1988, the last year of President Reagan’s term, Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by a Senate controlled by Democrats. In fact, the Senate has confirmed Supreme Court justices six times in presidential election years.  

President Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate have a duty to follow this example and move beyond the politics of obstruction and polarization.  Americans deserve a judicial branch that is fully functional and working to make sure our laws and our democracy work for every American. 

For every Supreme Court nomination over the past 35 years, the Senate has conducted a hearing and a vote within 100 days of a President naming his selection. Since 1975, the average wait has been 67 days to confirmation. 

Americans have already made clear about their frustrations with politics as usual in this election cycle. Delay and obstruction of a normal constitutional process will be seen as further evidence that our democracy is stagnant and increasingly incapable of handling even basic functions, like filling vacancies in the judiciary and other agencies.

Common Cause urges the President and the Senate to act promptly to fill this vacancy.