In an indication that anger over President Donald Trump's effort to drag the Supreme Court further to the right is widespread, members of the advocacy group Stand Up America made more than 18,000 calls to senators in a single day earlier this week to register their opposition to the GOP's rush to confirm a successor to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg right before the November election.
Sean Eldridge, founder and president of Stand Up, said in a statement Wednesday that "you can feel the anger from our community" in response to the attempt by Trump and Senate Republicans to force through another conservative justice. Stand Up said its members made calls from every state in the U.S. on Monday demanding that senators delay the confirmation process until after the winner of the presidential election is inaugurated.
"This lifetime appointment to the court could be the deciding vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade, or block legislation addressing climate change and gun safety."
—Sean Eldridge, Stand Up America
"Our democracy and our fundamental rights are on the line," said Eldridge. "After all of their empty rhetoric about letting the American people decide in 2016, Senate Republicans are now trying to ram yet another right-wing justice through the confirmation process. This lifetime appointment to the court could be the deciding vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade, or block legislation addressing climate change and gun safety. We cannot and will not let Trump and McConnell pack the Supreme Court without a fight."
Polling released in the wake of Ginsburg's passing late last week found that a majority of Americans believe the winner of the November 3 presidential election should be the one to fill the new Supreme Court vacancy—a position similar to the one that many Republican senators staked out following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia during the final year of President Barack Obama's second term.
But the Senate Republicans who opposed Obama nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 have since cynically abandoned their objections to confirming a Supreme Court justice in an election year, giving McConnell enough votes to move forward with Trump's coming pick.
Stand Up and other progressive advocacy groups have vowed to mobilize their millions of members nationwide in an effort to stop or delay the president's nominee, who is expected to be named on Saturday. If the Senate Democratic caucus remains united against Trump's pick, the GOP can only afford four defections.
"Call your senators now and demand they refuse to consider any Supreme Court Justice until the new president is inaugurated," urged Indivisible. "The American people deserve to have their voice heard in what could shift the courts irreparably for our lifetimes."
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Though no timeline for the confirmation process has been publicly announced, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is reportedly aiming for hearings on Trump's nominee as soon as October 12. One Republican Senate aide told the Associated Press that a floor vote on the president's pick could take place on October 29—just days before the presidential election.
Christopher Kang, chief counsel at advocacy group Demand Justice, said in a statement Wednesday that "beginning hearings this quickly after a nomination is announced is completely out of line with every other justice on the Supreme Court and even the standards that Senate Republicans have held past Trump nominees to."
"As this process becomes even more of a partisan farce, the cloud looming over the legitimacy of the Senate—and the Supreme Court itself—will continue to grow," said Kang. "Republican leaders are making clear that a political power grab is more important than seriously vetting the person they want to give a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court."