WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement on the pending Supreme Court vacancy due to the retirement of Justice Kennedy.
“In his more than three decades of service on the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the deciding vote in a number of narrow 5-4 rulings, particularly in landmark civil rights cases. This is an extremely important moment for the American people and the United States Senate. The Supreme Court is now at a crossroads as the next appointment can shape the Court for a generation.
“The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent for a president’s nominees to the high court. The process should work in such a way that the president – any president – engages in meaningful consultations with the Senate to find a consensus candidate. Unfortunately. President Trump has already indicated that he is going to pick a nominee from a list of extremist judges, drawn up by conservative advocacy groups, who will protect corporations and the wealthy, be a rubber stamp on his abuses of power, and willingly roll back civil rights and civil liberties. Both Republicans and Democrats should reject such a process that concentrates power and obliterates the checks and balances between branches of government.
“We also have not forgotten about Merrick Garland. It was outrageous that Leader McConnell and the Republicans denied President Obama the opportunity to have his nominee for the Supreme Court voted on in the United States Senate. In the last year of President Obama’s term, Leader McConnell said a full year was not enough time to move the nomination forward. Now we have even less time before the next election of the senators who would vote on a nomination. It would be hypocritical for Leader McConnell to try to move such a nomination forward under these circumstances.
“I would urge my Republican colleagues to recognize that this isn’t about doing President Trump a favor but protecting the Constitution and the rights of the people of America.”