In line with public opinion, newspaper editorial boards, and some Democratic lawmakers, progressive advocacy organizations on Thursday held a national day of action calling on the U.S. Senate to "do its job" and consider President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.
In Washington, D.C. and key states across the country, constituents are delivering petitions that aim to hold U.S. senators accountable to both the Constitution and the American people. The campaign has also taken off on Twitter under the hashtag #DoYourJob.
A CNN/ORC poll published Thursday shows that a majority of respondents want to see Obama nominate someone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, rather than leave the seat vacant until a new president takes office next year. What's more, about two-thirds say that whomever Obama nominates should get a hearing in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and the Senate Judiciary Committee have declared they will not hold hearings on any nominee put forward by Obama, nor would the full body vote on Obama's choice.
"It doesn't take much to understand how outrageous their conduct is," Natural Resources Defense Council climate and clean air campaign director Pete Altman wrote on Thursday. "This is the first Senate majority in American history to refuse to consider any nominee from the president, no matter how qualified that nominee may be."
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According to Altman, "[t]he Republican strategy is, in part, a bid to push policies that will lead to more pollution, more bad air, more bad water, and more profits for major polluters. When their 'mask' slips, that is what you see behind all of this."
Indeed, a report released Thursday by People for the American Way reveals how right-wing groups, representing corporate and religious interests, are "promoting obstruction as a means to the end of a far-right court."
The report states: "As Republican senators vow to block the confirmation of whomever President Obama nominates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy—or even to meet with a nominee—they are echoing the messaging of these outside groups. And, even as polls show that a majority of Americans want President Obama to fulfill his constitutional obligation and nominate the next Supreme Court justice, Republican senators face pressure campaigns from these groups if they back down the slightest bit from a scorched-earth response to the vacancy."
Thursday's day of action comes on the heels of a scathing letter to the Judiciary Committee from more than 80 organizations, which said the GOP's "unprecedented and destructive" decision was "a dereliction of constitutional duty."