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100 Days and No Action on the Supreme Court Vacancy

100 Days and No Action on the Supreme Court Vacancy

Supreme Court Building

On March 16, 2016, President Obama made his third nomination to the Supreme Court, tapping Merrick Garland, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to be the 113th Supreme Court Justice. Today, June 24, marks 100 days since Garland’s nomination, and 100 days that the Senate has gone without taking action on his nomination.

Typically, after the President nominates someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the review and confirmation process moves over to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee holds hearings, which explore a nominee’s past experience, and then the Senate votes on the nominee, so the new member can join the bench. Since the 1980s, every person appointed to the Supreme Court has been given a hearing and vote within approximately 100 days of their nomination, making the current delay in process on Merrick Garland’s nomination unprecedented.

Recent decisions from the Court remind us of the central role the Supreme Court plays in decisions of national importance and that personally affect the lives of Americans across the country.

Jewish tradition teaches the importance of just and timely administration of justice. In Pirke Avot 5:8, we read, “The sword came into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied.”  This long of a delay in filling the open Supreme Court seat is inhibiting the delivery of justice and undermines our nation’s judicial system overall.

Here are three ways that you can engage around the Supreme Court vacancy:

  • Take action: Our nation’s courts are often called the guardians of the Constitution because their rulings interpret our founding documents and our laws to protect our rights and liberties. This idea cannot be a reality without a fully functioning Supreme Court. Now that 100 days have passed since Merrick Garland’s nomination, take action and let your Senators know it is long past due for them to fulfill their constitutional responsibility of considering the nomination.
  • Raise your voice on social media: The RAC has created several fun graphics that convey the message of being incomplete without nine of something. To see the graphics, visit our Facebook page. When you share them on social media, use the hashtag #WeNeedNine, and be sure to tag us @theRAC.
  • Submit questions that you would like Merrick Garland to answer during a hearing: One way that you can have an impact on the Supreme Court nominations process is to suggest questions that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask Merrick Garland during his confirmation hearing once it is scheduled. We have created a special web page to facilitate the Reform Movement’s involvement in this process. At www.AskMerrickGarland.com, you can submit a question that you would like Merrick Garland to answer!

To learn more about the Supreme Court and judicial nominations, visit our Judicial Issues page

Tracy Wolf was a 2015-2016 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC), and currently serves as the RAC's Leadership Development Associate. Originally from Syosset, N.Y., she is a member of North Shore Synagogue and a graduate of Dickinson College.

Tracy Wolf

Published: 6/23/2016