A Dereliction of Duty: Demand the Senate Vote on the President’s Supreme Court Nominee

March 24, 2016

For several weeks, the Supreme Court has not been whole, hearing extremely consequential cases and deciding upon Americans’ fundamental rights while one seat lay vacant. President Obama  has nominated someone to take the place of the late Antonin Scalia: Merrick Garland, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But due to partisan politics, Judge Garland may never get a hearing in the U.S. Senate. We need you to help change that.

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Immediately after the death of Justice Scalia, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee vowed to refuse to hold a hearing for any candidate put forth by President Obama — a brazen declaration that they would ignore their constitutional obligations, a dereliction of duty that could wreak havoc on our justice system. 

The Center for Inquiry believes this is unacceptable and reckless. If you live in a state represented by senators who have joined this blockade of a crucial constitutional process — whatever your opinion of the president or Judge Garland — we urge you to demand they end their obstruction and call for fair hearings and an up-or-down vote for the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

The issues being decided upon by the Supreme Court will have lasting consequences on issues central to the values we share. In this session alone, religiously affiliated organizations seek to use their faith as an excuse to avoid following the law and prevent access to contraception; anti-abortion zealots seek to use pseudoscience to revoke access to abortion for millions of women; and churches seek to fund their activities with taxpayer dollars. 

This country needs a fully functioning Supreme Court to address these crucial matters in a coherent manner. But now the Court is unnecessarily hobbled, even as a nominee waits in the wings to be evaluated and voted on by the Senate. If one or both of your senators are among those contributing to the obstruction, we strongly urge you to call or message them today, and tell them to do what’s right for the country, and give the president’s nominee a vote.

To identify and find contact information for your U.S. senators, click here.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and will soon be home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.