Washington, D.C.— A coalition of 29 advocacy organizations today sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, calling on them to halt the confirmation process for Donald Trump’s federal judicial nominees now that the president has been impeached and faces a trial in the Senate. Organizations signing the letter include People For the American Way, National Women’s Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Alliance for Justice, NAACP, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The full letter can be seen here.
The letter follows the Senate’s return this week and intention to resume processing judicial nominations, thereby signaling the Senate leadership’s failure to take seriously the gravity of the impeachment process and the upcoming Senate trial. The letter states: “The Articles of Impeachment recently approved by the House of Representatives state that the president of the United States has abused the powers of his office by soliciting a foreign government to interfere with the 2020 elections and has obstructed Congress’ efforts to investigate the matter…While any president is under the cloud of impeachment for such high crimes and misdemeanors, the Senate and the Judiciary Committee must put a hold on processing that president’s nominees for lifetime positions in the federal judiciary.”
“It is ludicrous, and frankly offensive, to suggest that a president who has been impeached because of his contempt for our elections and for the rule of law should continue to have his nominations to the federal bench move ahead as if all were well,” said PFAW Executive Vice President for Policy and Program Marge Baker. “Senators McConnell and Graham need to show that they grasp this central fact. These are not normal times or normal circumstances, and the GOP leadership should be hitting pause – under such grave circumstances – on rubber-stamping this president’s lifetime appointments to the federal bench.”
“We cannot allow a president who demanded foreign interference in our elections and obstructed Congress to pack our courts with lifetime appointees,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Senate leaders must check the power of other branches of government and refuse to advance any additional lifetime judicial nominations while Trump remains under the cloud of impeachment. Doing less would amount to a grave dereliction of Constitutional duty.”
“Determining whether the president committed high crimes and misdemeanors should be the only issue the Senate addresses at this time. It’s a grave matter of national importance,” said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice.
“It’s unacceptable for President Trump – or any president going through the impeachment process for betraying the American people – to appoint federal judges. The Senate must take its role seriously and focus on a full and fair trial. In these troubling times, moving forward with seating judges for lifetime roles could shake the core of our democracy,” said National Women’s Law Center President and CEO Fatima Goss Graves.
“Confidence in our courts is critical to a functioning and fair judicial system. That is why the Senate must not move forward to consider nominees to the federal bench advanced by this President, who has been impeached by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanors, until the completion of his Senate trial. No nominations should move forward during this period,” said NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill.
“Our nation is in the middle of a constitutional crisis. The president of the United States has been impeached by the House of Representatives and could be removed from office by the Senate for crimes against the foundations of our democracy. Now is not the time to be considering lifetime appointments to our third branch of government. Adding more judges to the courts can and must wait,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
A full list of signatories is below:
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
People For The American Way, Fair Courts Task Force Co-Chair
National Women’s Law Center, Fair Courts Task Force Co-Chair
African American Ministers in Action
Alliance for Justice
American Constitution Society
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Center for American Progress
Center for Popular Democracy Action
Human Rights Campaign
Jobs With Justice
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Action Network
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Partnership for Women & Families
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Service Employees International Union
Silver State Equality – Nevada
Transformative Justice Coalition
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.