Press Releases

Sens. Schumer & Whitehouse Join LCV, State LCVs to Call on Senate to Fulfill Constitutional Duty on SCOTUS Vacancy

Jun 8, 2016

LCV Delivers Over 200,000 Petitions From Members Calling on Senators To Do Their Job

Washington, D.C.: Today, on the Supreme Court steps, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and state LCVs from across the country to call on senators to give Judge Merrick Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.

LCV also delivered over 200,000 petitions gathered from members across the country calling on Republican senators to do their job and stop obstructing the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy.

“Senate Republicans need to do their job and give Judge Garland the hearing and vote he deserves because the American people deserve a fully functioning court,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Having a deadlocked, 4-4 court could lead to judicial chaos surrounding environmental protections, voting rights, and so many other issues that are important to everyday Americans. This delay has gone on long enough, it’s time for the Senate to do the job we were elected to do.”

“This isn’t that complicated,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). “Leaving the Supreme Court vacancy open is a strategy clearly designed to protect the flawed, disastrous Citizens United decision delivered by the last majority of five Republican appointees.  Citizens United is what gives the fossil fuel industry its disgraceful leverage over Republicans in Congress, and prevents bipartisan climate action.  It’s that simple.”

“It’s long past time for Senator McConnell, Senator Grassley and other Republican senators to stop obstructing and do their job. They are playing partisan politics at its very worst and have sunk to a new low with their extreme and unprecedented obstruction. It has been 84 days since Judge Garland was nominated without so much as a hearing, while throughout U.S. history no nominee has ever waited longer than 83 days,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV SVP of Government Affairs. “LCV members couldn’t agree more, and today we are delivering a petition to Senator McConnell and other senators signed by over 200,000 of them calling on the Senate to do its job.

“LCV, our state LCV partners, and our members are engaging in this Supreme Court vacancy fight in a far bigger way than we ever have before because the stakes have never been higher, evidenced by the many split decisions we expect to see in the coming months,” she continued. “The courts play a significant role in the lives of everyday Americans, including our right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet. And of course the Supreme Court can have a major impact on polluter money in politics and voting rights.”

Tiernan Sittenfeld was joined by Tim Mahern-Macias, Field Director of Climate Action Iowa, Jack Shaner, Deputy Director of the OEC Action Fund, Jennifer Allen, Arizonan and Vice President and National Director of LCV’s Chispa program and Rob Werner, State Director of Climate Action New Hampshire.

Representatives from LCV state affiliates spoke about how the obstruction of their senators has seriously weakened their standing with their constituents. Through polling and a steady drumbeat of field events with our allies, LCV has kept the pressure on key senators including those with positions on the Judiciary Committee.

“Just this Monday, Team Climate Action Iowa held a rally in front of Sen. Grassley’s office in Cedar Rapids, our ninth event so far,” said Tim Mahern-Macias, Field Director of Climate Action Iowa. “Through their chants, letters and actions, volunteers voiced their opposition to the Senator’s obstruction of the nomination process. To underscore the depth of their displeasure with Senator Grassley, all the attendees agreed to continue holding him accountable with follow up actions in the future.”

Nationally and in key states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin, LCV volunteers and organizers have placed over 6,500 calls, sent nearly 700 letters, and held 20 in-person event with nearly 450 attendees holding their senators accountable for playing partisan politics and holding our democracy hostage. In Iowa and Pennsylvania, LCV joined with the Constitutional Responsibility Project to release polling that shows how much Sens. Toomey and Grassley’s favorability has been damaged among their constituents by their refusal to fulfill their constitutional duty.