Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), issued the following statement on Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement:
“This is a monumental moment for our country. The very integrity of our justice system and the rule of law will be affected by the confirmation of a new justice to the Supreme Court. We have seen the judges that President Trump has advanced for lower courts. We have seen the extreme jurisprudence of Justice Gorsuch – who was President Trump’s first nominee for the Court. We can have no confidence that President Trump will present a nominee with a record of commitment to racial equality and justice. And so every American must invest themselves in ensuring that Congress does its job–which, in this case, means not considering any nominee this year, and voting down any nominee who does not represent the ideals of our democracy or is otherwise unqualified to serve on the highest court in our nation. It is critical that Congress fight for the American people in the process of addressing this open seat on the Court.
“There may be no term in recent history that demonstrates the importance of the Court’s composition more than the one that just concluded in which Ohio was allowed to proceed with a process to purging voters for failing to vote; Texas was allowed to proceed with electoral maps that were deemed intentionally discriminatory; workers’ rights to challenge workplace violations, as well as the ability for unions to support their work to protect all workers were overruled; and anti-Muslim bigotry was affirmed.
“We also wish to recognize Justice Anthony Kennedy for his 30 years of service on the Supreme Court. He has been an important moderating force on issues ranging from LGBT rights, to abortion, and affirmative action, and has spoken powerfully and eloquently in defense of the dignity of every American. His voice on the Court will be deeply missed.
“The Senate must use its ‘advise and consent’ power to ensure our nation is served by a justice who will uphold the rule of law and equal rights for all Americans. The Supreme Court is the institution that protects the rule of law in our country. We must protect the Supreme Court.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and 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.