Merkley Slams Judiciary Committee Republicans for Proceeding with Illegitimate Supreme Court Appointment Process, Threatening Americans’ Sacred Rights and Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement today, as Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham and his fellow Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee proceeded with their illegitimate Supreme Court nomination hearings:

“There are just 23 days left in this election, and millions of Americans have already cast their ballots. Four years ago, Republicans swore their decision not to debate or vote on a nominee during an election year was a matter of deep principle, in which they profoundly believed that voters should have their say. But rather than follow their own principle and honor the precedent they themselves set in 2016, Donald Trump and Republicans in the Senate are determined to rush this nomination. This is a power play of a small minority determined to lock in power for the wealthy and powerful for generations to come. It’s government by and for the powerful, rather than government by and for the people.

“This process isn’t just a violation of the precedent these senators set four years ago, though. It’s a violation of 230 years of history. No vacancy on the Supreme Court has ever been filled this close to an election. Not surprisingly, then, a majority of Americans believe this nomination should be delayed until after this election. But of course, neither Donald Trump nor Mitch McConnell’s Republicans in the Senate represent the majority of Americans. 

“Most Americans think whether to have an abortion is an intensely personal decision that needs to be made by women with whatever input they seek from their loved ones and doctors. The last place overbearing, intrusive government is needed is in the privacy of the exam room. Most Americans desperately want to make sure they aren’t kicked off their health insurance or charged through the nose just because they got sick or injured or had another pre-existing condition. But Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and their colleagues don’t work for most Americans. They work for the privileged and powerful, which is probably why most Americans voted against Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans in 2016 and 2018.

“Today, they are doubling down for the people they actually work for, shredding our institutions and history to ram through a potential justice who would continue rigging the economy and elections for the wealthy and well-connected. President Abraham Lincoln—who, by the way, decided not to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that arose in October 1864, just before his re-election—beautifully described the American experiment as government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That vision has been under attack for years and this rush to fill this seat is another step to ensuring that the powerful rule, not the people. Americans should understand the stakes in this confirmation process and know that your health care, your rights, and your sacred democratic republic hang in the balance.”