50 signatures reached
To: Senate Democrats, Democratic Party Leadership, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Senate Democrats: Boycott Confirmation Process for RBG Supreme Court Vacancy
The battle to stop Senate Republicans from filling the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's seat in the final weeks of a presidential election year is hopeless. Key Republican Senators who might have held a more moderate view and who would have been the best chances for stopping the confirmation process from proceeding, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have already signaled their intention to support moving forward. Republican Senators had no shame in advancing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee with an unsettled cloud of sexual assault allegations hanging over his past conduct, to the Court in 2018. And it is highly unlikely Republicans will make the same vetting mistake and nominate a candidate with such glaring background defects again. Fighting the process in the Senate is a losing battle and Democrats can be more effective by other means.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to consider President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the 2016 presidential election year, while committing to advance President Trump's pick under the same circumstances, is a cynical deed of political manipulation and an act of constitutional betrayal. Given the stark realities of the situation, the best strategy is for Senate Democrats to tarnish the process by refusing to participate. To the extent that they can boycott the process without violating Senate rules and putting their own Senate standing in jeopardy, they must.
We are asking Senate Democrats to 1) Send only the minimum number of members to Judiciary Committee meetings as necessary to meet committee quorum rules, and then abstain from the remainder of committee process - ask no questions, and do not vote; 2) After the nominee has been advanced through committee, and when confirmation reaches the floor for full vote, the entire Senate Democratic caucus should be absent from the Senate. Let the vote and confirmation proceed, without Democrats having given any endorsement to the legitimacy of the process or to McConnell's Circus Senate by the act of participation.
Why is this important?
We are not going to be able to stop the confirmation - procedural maneuvers in the Senate may frustrate or delay it, but similar tactics were used during the Kavanaugh confirmation, and Senate Republicans were still successful in seating a very weak nominee on the Court. It will send a far stronger symbolic message to boycott the process completely. The nominee will be confirmed, but the legitimacy and stature of the Court will forever have an asterisk in the history books for as long as the great Ruth Bader Ginsberg's replacement holds tenure on it.