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Trump And Right to Work And Janus v AFSCME

AFT Local 1360

Janus was a Roman god with two faces, each looking in the opposite direction.

“Janus-faced” means two-faced, or deceitful. It aptly describes the Trump administration and the other big-time, union-busting backers of the plaintiff in Janus v AFSCME Council 31.

The case, which is before the U.S. Supreme Court, could, in effect, force all public employee unions into a “right to work” framework. Also, it could “further undermine the rights of workers to choose, in a democratic process based on a majority vote, to support the payment of fees or dues for those represented by a union and protected by the collective bargaining agreement,” according to Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

AFSCME has several members in Kentucky.

Federal law requires a union to represent all hourly workers at a unionized job site. Under a state RTW law, workers can enjoy union-won wages and benefits without joining the union and paying dues or paying the union a fair-share fee to represent them.

Janus is part of the whole effort to turn back the clock on workers and unions by undermining our ability to represent our members by shutting off our financial resources,” Londrigan said. “Now with Janus, the focus is primarily on the public-sector, which has been the fastest growing part of the labor movement.”

In the Janus case, Mark Janus, an Illinois state government employee, is suing AFSCME because he doesn’t want to pay the union a fair-share fee. Rabidly anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee and the State Policy Network are behind him.

Organizations like the NRTWC and SPN claim they support “worker freedom.” Their real purpose is crushing unions. The SPN admits it’s goal is to “defund and defang” public employee unions.

“Under current law, every union-represented teacher, police officer, caregiver or other public service worker may choose whether or not to join the union — but the union is required to negotiate on behalf of all workers whether they join or not,” explained Roberta Lynch, AFSCME Council 31 executive director, in a Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register guest column.

Council 31 represents 100,000 active and retired public service workers, including Janus.

She added, “Since all the workers benefit from the union’s gains, it’s only fair that everyone chip in toward the cost. That’s why 40 years ago a unanimous Supreme Court [in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education] approved the kind of cost-sharing arrangements known as fair share.”

Trump’s solicitor general has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Janus.

Even so, the president says he’s the champion of workers. Yet on the campaign trail, he said he preferred “right to work” states to non-RTW states. He ran on a platform with a plank calling for a national right to work law.

“The Janus v. AFSCME case is an effort by powerful corporate interests to outlaw fair share, encouraging workers to contribute nothing toward the cost of union representation,” Lynch also said. “It actually began as a political scheme by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who shortly after taking office issued an executive order and filed a lawsuit trying to ban fair-share fees.”

After a handful of Kentucky counties passed local RTW laws, Rauner, a Republican, started pushing for local “right to work” zones in Illinois municipalities. Under federal law, only states can pass RTW measures. GOP Gov. Matt Bevin and his Republican-majority legislature made Kentucky a RTW state in January.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the most anti-union lawmakers in Washington, has proposed a national RTW law.

SCOTUS Is on the Verge of Decimating Public-Sector Unions—But Workers Can Still Fight Back

CC DBKING

By DBKING CC

BY SHAUN RICHMAN, at In These Times

On Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus vs. AFSCME, the case that will likely turn the entire public sector labor movement into a “right-to-work” zone. Like a lazy Hollywood remake, the case has all the big money behind it that last year’s Friedrichs v. CTA did, with none of the creativity.

In Friedrichs, the plaintiffs argued that interactions between public sector unions and government employers are inherently political. Therefore, the argument went, mandatory agency fees to reimburse the union for the expenses of representation and bargaining were forced political speech, violating employees’ purported First Amendment right to not pay dues.

The case ended in a 4-4 deadlock in March 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who had appeared poised to vote against the unions’ interests.

Much like Friedrichs, the Janus case has rocketed through the federal courts. The National Right to Work Foundation, which represents the plaintiffs, petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case in early June. All briefs will likely be submitted by mid-January 2018, meaning SCOTUS could hold hearings almost exactly a year to the date that the Court last heard the same arguments.

The defendants may argue for procedural delays, which could potentially kick the decision into the following court term in 2018-2019. And it’s possible that in the meantime Justice Anthony Kennedy could die of a heart attack, or Sam Alito could forget to look both ways while crossing First St. and get run over by a bus. And the Democrats might take back the Senate next year, preventing the Trump administration from naming any more conservatives to the Court.

That’s the kind of magical thinking we’re left with, because the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is clearly determined to tilt the power of the country in favor of big business and against unions for at least a generation, and they care little about how just or fair their decisions appear to the public.

“Right to work” laws, currently on the books in 27 states, strip the requirement that union members pay union dues. Unions claim this creates a “free rider” problem, allowing workers to enjoy the benefits of union membership without contributing a dime. This deprives unions of crucial funding, but also—and this is no small consideration for the right-wing—every union family that drops their membership becomes one less door that union members can knock come election season.

Most national unions have been preparing for this eventuality since the first time the Roberts court took up the issue of public sector union fees in 2014’s Harris Vs. Quinncase. (If you’re keeping score, yes, the conservative justices on the Supreme Court have spent three years in a row trying to break the backs of unions).

Much of this preparation has focused on making sure that unions have a shop steward in every department and that every new hire is asked by a living breathing human being to actually join the union. But, as I wrote earlier this month, the bigger threat once workers have the right to evade union fees is the direct mail and phone-banking campaign that is already being run by Koch Brother-funded “think tanks” to encourage workers to drop their union membership and “give yourself a raise.”

As I wrote then, “The slick ‘give yourself a raise’ pamphlets will do the most damage in places where members think of the union as simply a headquarters building downtown. … But where members are involved in formulating demands and participating in protest actions, they find the true value and power of being in a union. That power—the power of an active and involved membership—is what the right-wing most fears, and is doing everything in its power to stop.”

There is a certain irony in conservatives applying the First Amendment to collective bargaining, a principle that conservative jurists have studiously avoided for two centuries. If every interaction that a union has with the government is a matter of speech, then we have a stronger argument for instituting a Bill of Rights for labor to protect workers and their right to demand fair treatment on the job.

Unions are already oppressively regulated. They are told by the National Labor Relations Board whom they can picket, when they may march and what they might say on a flyer. And they face steep fines if they disobey. Workers are forced to attend endless hours of anti-union presentations before a union election with no right to respond or boycott.

If every interaction the government has with a union is a matter of political speech—as a ruling in favor of Janus would imply—unions must respond by forcefully arguing that the rules of the system have been unfairly holding workers back, violating of our rights to free speech, due process and equal protection.

(Republished with permission from In These Times.)

Sen. Shaheen Urges GOP Leadership To Schedule Hearings For SCOTUS Nominee (VIDEO)

“The American people expect Senators to be faithful to our oath. They also expect us to do our jobs – regardless of whether it is an election year.”
— Senator Jeanne Shaheen

(Washington, DC) —U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor today urging Republican leaders to consider President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, and set a hearing and a vote on his nomination. Shaheen called out Senate Republicans for breaking with bipartisan tradition and refusing to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities to hold hearings and a vote on Judge Garland’s nomination. President Obama nominated Judge Garland in March, however, Senate Republicans have not held a hearing on his nomination. Since 1975, the average length of time from nomination to a confirmation vote for the Supreme Court has been 67 days. 

“Every Senator swore to ‘support and defend’ the Constitution – full stop,” said Shaheen. “Our oath does not say: uphold the Constitution ‘most of the time’ or ‘only when it’s not a Presidential election year.’ The American people expect Senators to be faithful to our oath. They also expect us to do our jobs – regardless of whether it is an election year.”

Shaheen continued, “Let’s do the job we were sent her to do by the American people. Let’s follow the Constitution.”

Senator Shaheen met with Judge Garland in April to discuss his nomination.

Watch Here 

Ayotte Is Still Failing To Do Her Job, Doubles Down On No Hearings For Garland

On a right-wing radio station this morning, host Keith Hanson pressed Sen. Ayotte on why she continues to refuse to hold even hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Linds Jakows issued the following statement in response: 

“Sen. Ayotte’s continued blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is reckless and goes against the wishes of over two-thirds of Granite Staters. Yet instead of doing her job by following the Constitutional process of hearings and a vote, she’d prefer the Supreme Court seats be filled by Donald Trump, who she’s still voting for even after his attacks on women, veterans, and immigrants.”

Transcript below from WNTK Radio this morning at 8:40 AM. 

5:17

Radio host: I wanted to talk about the Garland issue. The last thing I want to do is see Obama appoint yet another activist, liberal judge. Why not allow the hearings?

Ayotte: we’re in a situation that’s somewhat unique. We have a 4-4 court, the court has shifted, this is going to impact our constitutional rights for decades. we have divided gov…we should let the voters have a voice. To me, that’s a very important question, and when you have this situation, where it’s going to fundamentally impact people’s constitutional rights, you gotta let the people weigh in with the next presidency of which direction the country is going to take.

7:05:

Radio: it’s seems like there’s a painting in the corner when it’s an outright refusal, it gives ammunition to the left. Why not at least go through the motions?

Ayotte: So you’re saying I should go through the motions, and you say that’s a more honest approach than letting the people weigh in? I don’t know if I agree with that. That’s certainly not something I would do.

Here is what Ayotte does not seem to be able to grasp: The people have already weighed in on who they want to pick the next Supreme Court Justice and his name is President Barack Obama.  He overwhelmingly won the 2012 election and that is who the American people decided should appoint the next Justice when the time comes and that time is today.

Ayotte’s obstructionism is unprecedented. Never before has nominee to the Supreme Court been held up for this long.  Merrick Garland deserves a hearing and a confirmation vote.  Garland was confirmed for his current position in the DC Circuit by the Republican controlled Senate in 1997 by a vote of 76-23.

If Garland was good enough to be confirmed by the Republican controlled Senate in 1997, why is he not even good enough to hold confirmation hearings for now?

Ayotte needs to stop playing partisan politics with Garlands nomination and just Do Her Job.

Action at Ayotte Do your Job 2

Disappointment Over SCOTUS Immigration Tie Highlights Call For Senate To “Do Your Job”

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

The Supreme Court splits on DACA and DAPA, highlighting the urgent need to confirm a ninth Supreme Court Justice.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas, the case challenging expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). This means that the Fifth Circuit’s decision upholding the preliminary injunction against these initiatives will stand.

This ruling does not impact the original DACA program launched in 2012.

“One of the reasons why America is such a diverse and inclusive nation is because we’re a nation of immigrants,” said President Barack Obama. “Our Founders conceived of this country as a refuge for the world. And for more than two centuries, welcoming wave after wave of immigrants has kept us youthful and dynamic and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character, and it has made us stronger.”

“But for more than two decades now, our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken. And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be,” Obama added.

Confirming that this ruled does not affect the original DACA program and in an attempt to ease people’s minds, Obama continued:

“I know a lot of people are going to be disappointed today, but it is important to understand what today means. The deferred action policy that has been in place for the last four years is not affected by this ruling. Enforcement priorities developed by my administration are not affected by this ruling. This means that the people who might have benefitted from the expanded deferred action policies — long-term residents raising children who are Americans or legal residents — they will remain low priorities for enforcement. As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited immigration enforcement resources are not focused on you.”

“The decision is a huge disappointment for immigrant families and their defenders. It’s bad for American communities, workers and the economy,” wrote the Immigration Policy Council. “We will continue to explore all available legal avenues and will urge the government to do the same. Ultimately, the nation needs a permanent solution to our outdated immigration system, and that must come from Congress. The fight will continue.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a setback for all those who have fought for more humane and rational enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “While we are deeply disappointed by the Court’s failure to reach a decision, we will redouble our organizing efforts to defeat the obstructionist, anti-immigrant forces behind this lawsuit and ensure that all working people can assert their rights on the job and in the community without fear of deportation.”

“This decision will further motivate a resilient community that is a vibrant and vital part of our labor movement. We continue to urge the Administration to use its discretion to protect those courageous immigrant workers who are exercising their workplace and civil rights,” added Trumka.

Locally, elected leaders and advocates spoke out against this decision.

“Today’s SCOTUS un-decision comes as a hard blow to the millions of immigrants that could have benefited from DAPA and the extension of DACA,” said Eva Castillo, Program Director for the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. “We will not stand still, we will continue to push back against anti-immigrant politicians and what they represent.”

“In November our vote will speak loudly against all candidates that stand for hatred, xenophobia and racism. That is our pledge,” Castillo added.

In 2015, Senator Shaheen joined more than 30 Senators and 180 Members of the House of Representatives, in an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court before the case went to trial.

“Families shouldn’t live in fear that at a moment’s notice a father, mother or child could be separated from their loved ones,” said Shaheen. “The Supreme Court’s order today is extremely disappointing and demonstrates why having only eight justices on our nation’s highest court hurts our country.”

“This order ignores the clear intent of Congress to grant the executive branch the discretion to establish and enforce immigration policy. Our country is at its strongest when we are open, inclusive and embrace all people. DAPA and expanded DACA would be good for families, our communities, and our economy and I am deeply disappointed that partisan opposition has prevented these initiatives from going forward.”

“It’s now up to us in Congress to work together to advance immigration policies that will keep families together and strengthen our nation,” Shaheen concluded.

Action at Ayotte Do your Job 2

This split decision only further highlights the need for the US Senate to hold confirmation hearings on a new Supreme Court Justice.

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland 100 days ago and some Senators, including New Hampshire’s own Kelly Ayotte, are refusing to hold confirmation hearings on Garland.

“Kelly Ayotte’s refusal to do her job has now hit the 100 day mark as she keeps a Supreme Court seat open for Donald Trump to fill with an anti-choice justice,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “100 days later, New Hampshire voters still want Ayotte to do her job and give the President’s nominee fair consideration.”

“Granite Staters have had enough of Kelly Ayotte’s political obstruction and reckless support for a misogynist presidential candidate who would appoint judges to the Supreme Court to turn back the clock on women’s rights,” Miller added.

“Today’s decision is a shattering blow to millions of families and a painfully clear illustration of why we need a fully staffed Supreme Court in order to address the most important issues we face as a country,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of the People for the American Way. “Without issuing a real opinion or providing any reasoning, our hobbled Supreme Court has allowed a single district court judge to implement a twisted ruling that will have a profound impact on the lives of families all across the country. The Court has provided no guidance to lower courts while simultaneously impacting millions of people’s lives.”

The People for the American Way have been leading the charge for the Senate to confirm a new Justice. Baker continued by blasting Ayotte for failing to uphold her Constitutional duty to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice.

“This isn’t how our system of justice is supposed to work. Yet Republicans including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who are eager to force their ideology into law by any means necessary, have refused to perform their most basic responsibilities and give fair consideration to a pending Supreme Court nominee. This is the result of a broken system of government, and make no mistake, Republicans have broken it on purpose.”

Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running against Ayotte, highlighted Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Justice.

“Earlier this week, the American Bar Association affirmed what members of both parties have said to be true: Judge Merrick Garland is exceptionally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States and his nomination deserves fair consideration,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Unfortunately, Senator Kelly Ayotte continues to side with her party leadership in obstructing the Supreme Court confirmation process – despite the fact that a majority of Granite Staters support considering Garland’s confirmation now.”

“As this irresponsible blockade of the Supreme Court confirmation process marks 100 days, I call on Senator Ayotte to drop the partisan politics, do her job and stop putting her political party before justice for Granite Staters,” Hassan concluded.

The Supreme Court has shown twice now that they cannot function properly with only eight Justices. The Senate must do their Constitutional duty and confirm a new Justice.

NARAL Endorses Hassan, Releases New Ad Calling On Ayotte To #DoYourJob

NARAL Launches Ad Campaign Questioning Sen. Ayotte’s Misplaced Priorities, Failure to Do Her Job

Screen shot from ad

Screen shot from ad

Group Announces Endorsement Of Maggie Hassan for U.S. Senate

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC today announced a TV and digital ad buy targeting incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte for failing to do the job she was elected to do. Even though 75 percent of New Hampshire voters oppose restricting access to legal abortion, Sen. Ayotte has focused her energy on restricting reproductive freedom and defunding Planned Parenthood. Now, she’s even refusing to do her job to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, proving yet again that she doesn’t share the priorities of Granite State families.

NARAL today also announced its endorsement of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan in her race for U.S. Senate. As only the second woman to hold the office of Governor in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan has always put women and families first and has stood firm against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood or make it harder for women to access reproductive care.

“In her six years in the Senate, Sen. Ayotte has time and again proven that she doesn’t share the same priorities as the hardworking people of New Hampshire,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “She promised to go to Washington and makes things easier for people in the Granite State. Instead of doing that job, she has been obsessed with restricting access to abortion even for survivors of sex trafficking, making it harder to get birth control, and shutting down Planned Parenthood. Now, she’s refusing to do her job and fill the vacancy on our nation’s highest court.”

“Maggie Hassan is an unwavering defender of our reproductive freedom,” added Hogue. “As Governor, Maggie Hassan has always stood with women and families across the Granite State. She fought back against attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood and led the successful bipartisan effort to protect the safety of women who seek reproductive care. We are proud to stand with Governor Maggie Hassan in her campaign for U.S. Senate because she has always stood up for us. In this election, the choice in New Hampshire is clear.”

The ad features Deb, a working mother, long time New Hampshire resident, and NARAL member from North Hampton. In the ad, Deb explains how she shows up to do her job every day and that she expects no less for her senator. Unfortunately, Sen. Ayotte is not doing the job she was elected to do. In the direct-to-camera spot, Deb calls out Sen. Ayotte for being obsessed with rolling back access to abortion and birth control instead of doing her job on important issues like filling the vacancy on our nation’s highest court.

To see NARAL’s ad questioning Sen. Ayotte’s priorities, click here.

ICYMI: WSJ: For Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Court Fight is Felt Close to Home

CONCORD – The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that both Republican and Independent voters in New Hampshire are unhappy with Senator Ayotte’s decision to stand with her party leadership and special interest backers in obstructing the Supreme Court nomination process.

Following the Senator back home to New Hampshire during the Senate recess, the WSJ writes that Ayotte “has landed smack into a fight over the issue on her home turf” and that “the nomination fight is helping to define Ms. Ayotte in a way that could damage support among the independent and centrist voters…”

Click here to read full story or see below for excerpts:

In getting home for a two-week recess, Sen. Kelly Ayotte left behind the daily, bitter fights that have seethed in Washington since February, when Republicans linked arms and said they would refuse to consider a Supreme Court nominee until a new president is sworn in next year.

But instead of getting a break, Ms. Ayotte has landed smack into a fight over the issue on her home turf.

On Monday, protesters gathered outside of her New Hampshire offices to say she was neglecting to do her job by joining the GOP’s blockade of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee.

…“To flatly obstruct the process seems to me like they aren’t following through on their obligations,” said Jim O’Brien, a Republican and town selectman in Hopkinton who likes both candidates but says he hasn’t decided who to back in the Senate race. “I would like to see Kelly Ayotte be a vote to move forward with the process.”

…the nomination fight is helping to define Ms. Ayotte in a way that could damage support among the independent and centrist voters who are expected to be an important force in race that is a dead heat.

“She can basically be a very sensible person, and every once in a while I think I might vote for her, but then I say no, that won’t work,” said Mary Leadbeater, a 67-year-old independent from Hopkinton who says that the Senate should “go ahead and have the hearing and have a vote.”

…Ms. Hassan says the senator’s position is simply partisan—a criticism that stings in a state where voters value independence. “People don’t want the Supreme Court gridlocked; they don’t want government gridlocked,” Ms. Hassan said. Ms. Ayotte’s stance “reinforces to them that she is standing with the special interests and her far-right party leadership rather than standing with the people of New Hampshire.”

…Whether the nomination fight ends up undercutting Ms. Ayotte’s prospects for re-election will depend on people like Heather Otten, a 26-year-old resident of Warner who is frustrated with establishment politicians and who voted for Mr. Trump in the primary.

“There are a lot of big cases that go in front of the Supreme Court, and right now they aren’t being allowed to do their job because someone else isn’t doing theirs,” said Ms. Otten after finishing work at a convenience store in Hopkinton…

NH Voters Call on Sen. Ayotte to End Supreme Court Obstruction

Nashua 3 “Sen. Ayotte has a constitutional responsibility to give fair consideration to judicial nominations”

Nashua, NH – Democrats, Republicans and Independents may not agree on much politically but the one thing they do seem to agree on is that Senator Kelly Ayotte should do her job and hold fair hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. 

Ayotte’s obstructionism in the Senate has reached an all time high as she joins her fellow Republicans in refusing to hold confirmation hearings on a new Supreme Court Justice until after a new President is inaugurated.  This would leave an open seat on the highest court in the land for over eleven months.

Nashua 2Yesterday, outside of Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s district office, Granite Staters joined to demonstrate against Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her obstruction aimed at President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. Participants called on Sen. Ayotte to give fair consideration – timely hearings and an up-or-down vote – to Judge Garland. 

“Sen. Ayotte has a constitutional responsibility to give fair consideration to judicial nominations,” said Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way, “It’s time for her to do her job and stop ignoring the majority of Granite Staters who want to see the Supreme Court vacancy filled this year. She should put principle over partisanship instead of trying to hold a Supreme Court seat open for President Trump or President Cruz.” 

Most New Hampshire voters, including 60% of independent voters in New Hampshire, support filling the Supreme Court vacancy this year, yet Sen. Ayotte continues to stand firm against giving fair consideration to Judge Garland.

“I am fed up with the Republican party and I’m fed up with Kelly Ayotte,” Stephen Spaulding, of Hollis told the Nashua Telegraph. “This country is never going to address such things as climate change as long as people like Kelly Ayotte are among us. I don’t know a lot about (Garland) but he certainly deserves a hearing.”

“I want her to know that I live down the street and I’m not voting for her” Catherine Sofikitis, of Nashua also told the Nashua Telegraph.


People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.


Labor Leaders Applaud Supreme Court Nomination, Demand Senators #DoYourJob

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Today, President Obama announced Merrick Garland as his nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.

“Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court,” said Obama.

Chief Judge Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 76-23, with majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. He has served for 19 years on that court – often considered the most important appellate court in the nation.

Labor leaders were quick to applaud Obama’s nomination and condemn the Republican senators who have vowed to block this nomination for eleven months until a new President is inaugurated.

“Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit brings impeccable credentials and deep experience to this nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Judge Garland’s career shows a deep commitment to public service and to the rule of law. These qualities are why he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 19 years ago by a bipartisan majority and with the strong support of then Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch. Judge Garland is a superbly qualified nominee who deserves prompt consideration and confirmation by the United States Senate. Working people deserve and expect no less.”

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. is also calling on the Senate to hold a nomination hearing and vote on President Obama’s selection for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“President Obama has done his job by nominating his choice to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Now the U.S. Senate needs to do its job and fulfill its Constitutional responsibility by swiftly holding a hearing and vote on the nomination,” Cox said.

“There are too many pressing issues facing the court to allow a vacancy to linger until after the November presidential election. President Obama is the commander in chief until Jan. 20, 2017, and he is responsible for carrying out the duties of the office until his successor has been elected and sworn in.”

“Likewise, the 100 members of the U.S. Senate have a responsibility to do the job that the American people elected them to do. And that includes considering all of the president’s nominations to vacant positions in the executive and judicial branches.”

“The American people expect our elected leaders to do their job. Anything less is obstructionist and a miscarriage of justice.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, also had some harsh words for these Senators who plan to obstruct Garland’s nomination.

“As we teach high school government students, the Constitution is crystal clear about what to do when there’s a Supreme Court vacancy: The president of the United States nominates a candidate for the bench, and the Senate provides advice and consent.

“The Constitution does not say the president shall nominate a justice—unless it is the fourth year of his term. Six times since 1900, the president has put forth a nominee during the final year of his term. All six—as well as Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated in November 1987 and confirmed in 1988—were given hearings and nearly all received an up-or-down vote.

“For the last seven years, Senate Republicans have attempted to block President Obama at every turn, with no regard for the damage they inflicted on American families. Their stubborn refusal to consider a nominee puts politics over responsibility and, in so doing, dishonors our Constitution. The people of their states elected them to do a job. They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. They are doing neither of those things.

“So I have a simple message to Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, and other senators who say they will not even schedule a hearing. Working people across America get up every day and do our jobs. We expect the same from our United States senators. Do. Your. Job.”

Every case that is heard by the Supreme Court could have long lasting effects on our judicial system. It is imperative that we have nine justice’s sitting in the Supreme Court.

Demand that all of our elected representatives in the Senate do their job.

#DoYourJob

Ayotte Continues To Obstruct Supreme Court Nominee

Today, President Obama announced Merrick Garland as his nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.

“Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court,” said Obama.

Chief Judge Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 76-23, with majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. He has served for 19 years on that court – often considered the most important appellate court in the nation.

“Today, the President fulfilled his constitutional responsibility. Now it’s the Senate’s turn,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Every Senator swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and that oath applies to election years and non-election years alike. Without question, the American people expect us to do our jobs. The Senate has a longstanding bipartisan tradition of giving fair consideration to Supreme Court nominees and I will continue to honor that tradition. I look forward to meeting Judge Garland in the near future, and reviewing his qualifications.”

This puts my Senator, Kelly Ayotte, and all of her Republican cohorts on the hot seat for obstructing their constitutional duty to confirm a new Supreme Court nominee.

“Today, Kelly Ayotte doubled down on her refusal to do her job by continuing to follow Mitch McConnell in obstructing the consideration of any candidate to the Supreme Court, no matter how qualified,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “We cannot afford to leave Americans waiting for justice by leaving our nation’s highest court short-staffed for a year.”

“President Obama is fulfilling his constitutional obligation by announcing a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy,” said NH Governor and Democratic candidate for US Senate, Maggie Hassan. “Unfortunately, long before the President made his nomination, Senator Ayotte sided with her Washington Republican party leaders in vowing to not consider any nomination, instead pledging that she wouldn’t even meet with any nominee.”

“The Senate has a responsibility to provide ‘advice and consent,’ and every Supreme Court nominee should be considered based on his or her specific qualifications. But rather than do her constitutional duty, Senator Ayotte has decided to cater to her party leaders and her special interest backers by playing politics with justice for millions of Americans. Ayotte’s obstruction truly represents Washington dysfunction at its worst, and the people of New Hampshire deserve better,” added Hassan.

Even Ayotte’s Republican opponent is condemning her actions.

“As Senator, I would carefully examine the record of Judge Garland and pay very close attention to his opinions, particularly in cases involving the First Amendment, Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment and all other portions of the Bill of Rights. Senators should not be afraid to take a tough vote – even if it is a “no”, even during an election year – in the event he fails Constitutional scrutiny,” said Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Rubens.

Now, Ayotte is saying she will meet with Garland but only “to explain [her] position” and not actually consider him for confirmation.

After this news broke, Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way, made the following statement:

“The Constitution calls on Senators to give fair consideration to a President’s Supreme Court nominee, meaning a hearing and a vote. Ayotte’s announcement that she’ll meet with Judge Garland to ‘explain [her] position’ falls far short of her doing her job and following the priorities of Granite Staters. Garland deserves a fair consideration, and Senator Ayotte should call on her party leadership to make sure that’s what he receives.”

According to recent polling, 59% of New Hampshire voters – and 60% of independent voters in New Hampshire – support filling the Supreme Court vacancy this year.

All of the GOP obstructionists in the Senate need to get off their butts and do their jobs. These Senators need to stop playing partisan politics with the entire legal system by failing to do their constitutional duty and confirm a new Supreme Court Justice.

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