You may remember that on September 21st, I wrote a letter to the republican senator for my state, Rob Portman, regarding Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I also sent the letter to the other senator for my state, Sherrod Brown, a democrat. I posted the response from Senator Portman on September 29th and today I received a response from Senator Brown. Compare the two letters and tell me which one seems to you to be more concerned about preserving the Constitution, the rights of We the People. For the purpose of comparison, I have included both here …
Senator Brown’s response …
Dear Ms. Dennison:
Thank you for contacting me about President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The process of appointing a Supreme Court justice is designed to maintain the separation of powers and ensure that the nominee is highly qualified for a position on the nation’s highest court. The Senate should not be voting on a nominee to fill Justice Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court until after the presidential inauguration in 2021.
As our country faces a pandemic that has already killed 200,000 Americans, my top priority is keeping Americans healthy and safe – not packing the courts with judges that will side with corporations over workers and create a path to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the courts, kicking millions of Americans off of their health insurance. Instead of moving heaven and earth to rush through the confirmation process and install a justice that will put American’s health care and fundamental civil rights in danger, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should do their jobs to help Americans struggling amid a pandemic.
I am already deeply troubled by the recent trend of Supreme Court decisions that strip rights away from Ohioans, including workers, voters, and women, and I have serious concerns over Judge Barrett’s ability to apply the law fairly and impartially. That is why I voted against her confirmation to the United States’ Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2017. During her past three years on the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett has issued a number of opinions that have done little to assuage these concerns. Working people need justices who will put their rights first, not justices who will side with insurance companies over cancer survivors, financial scammers over customers, or massive corporations over American workers. The Senate should take the time necessary to explore Judge Barrett’s views on these issues, not adhere to a political timeline in order to confirm a nominee to our nation’s highest court, weeks before a major election.
While the President has the responsibility to select and nominate a justice, the Constitution requires that the Senate provide advice and consent on all Supreme Court nominees. As a result, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate must conduct a comprehensive review of Judge Barrett’s background, record, and qualifications. I am concerned by Senator McConnell’s attempt to ram this nominee through the Senate confirmation process. His compressed timeline, tailored to fit a political agenda, is not adequate to ascertain Judge Barrett’s views or consider the factors relevant to her nomination.
Ohioans and millions of other Americans across the country are already voting, and they deserve to have a say on the court that will decide the fate of their health care, workplace safety, criminal justice reform, and civil rights. In a matter of weeks we will know who Americans have elected to serve as president, and that person, given a mandate by the American people, should have the opportunity to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.
I will not support any justice who would take rights away from Ohioans. Thank you again for reaching out to me.
United States Senator
It goes without saying that I agree with him. And Senator Portman’s response …
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and the opportunity to respond.
As the second woman in history confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg served our country in this important role for 27 years. Her death on September 18, 2020 created a vacancy on the Court. The U.S. Constitution provides that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court.” Considering we are less than two months from a presidential election, there is controversy regarding whether the Senate should take up a nomination before the election. The Senate’s historical precedent demonstrates that when the same party controls the presidency and the Senate and a vacancy arises during a presidential election year, the Senate almost always confirms a nominee.
In the more than two dozen vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court that have arisen during a presidential election year in our nation’s history, the sitting president made a nomination in every single case. Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits. The president was elected in 2016, in part, based on a commitment to nominate men and women to the judiciary who would fairly and impartially apply the law and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not advance public policy goals by legislating from the bench. Likewise, in both 2016 and 2018, the American people have re-elected a Republican Senate majority to help President Trump fulfill that commitment.
In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said “the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.” Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposing-party president’s Supreme Court choice when the vacancy occurred in a presidential election year. In contrast, when the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party – as it is today –the precedent is for the president’s nominees to get confirmed. In the occasions that a vacancy has occurred when the President and the Senate are of the same party in a presidential election year, the Senate has confirmed the nominee and filled the seat in every instance but one where there was a bipartisan ethics concern. I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at portman.senate.gov . Thank you, and please keep in touch.
It also goes without saying that I considered this response to be a pile of crap … the Republican Party line, a load of b.s. Not relevant, but I did find it interesting that Senator Brown addressed me as ‘Ms. Dennison’, a term of respect, while Portman addressed me as simply ‘Jill’ … more familiarity than he is, perhaps, entitled to under the circumstances.
And now, I shall finish preparing to watch tonight’s bloodbath, otherwise known as a presidential debate. Wish me luck, please.