WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States. Last year, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans engaged in an unprecedented blockade of President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy, D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, refusing to even hold hearings and votes.
“The most fundamental thing that must be understood about tonight’s announcement is that this is a stolen seat. This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a President of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.
“This strategy of packing the court, if successful, could threaten fundamental rights in America, including workers’ right to organize, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of ordinary citizens to have their voices heard in elections rather than being drowned out by the corrupting influence of dark money from the richest Americans.
“If President Trump were serious about healing the divisions in America and undoing the damage wrought by Senate Republicans last year, he could have named Merrick Garland to fill this seat. Garland is a centrist jurist who is respected on both sides of the aisle. Instead, he doubled down on division by picking an ideological and extreme nominee to satisfy the far right.
“This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court.”