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Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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Duff, Looney Challenge Trump on Supreme Court Pick

Connecticut Senate Democrats Tell President to Honor Roe v. Wade and Judicial History with Next Supreme Court Pick

The leaders and several members of Connecticut’s Senate Democratic Caucus wrote President Donald J. Trump today asking that he select a Supreme Court nominee who is not beholden to the right-wing, originalist Federalist Society, but to select someone who will uphold decades of decided Supreme Court law, including the landmark 1973 case of Roe V. Wade.

“We have significant concerns about the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that was provided to you by the Federalist Society and that you are currently interviewing from,” Democratic senators wrote the president, noting their concerns about Roe v. Wade and the legal principle of ‘stare decisis,’ by which judges are bound by legal precedent. “As you know, these are important questions that need to be asked and that we, as elected leaders, must ask you on behalf of our constituents. We do not wish to see a return to ‘back-alley abortions.’ We want to see four decades of precedent respected and upheld by any nominee.”

President Trump is now interviewing potential Supreme Court justices to replace sometimes swing vote and outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy; the president recently told right-wing Breitbart Radio that, “We’re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society.”

The Federalist Society is a nonprofit, tax-exempt group of conservative lawyers seeking to influence American legal and public policy with the appointment of similarly conservative judges; members include past and current Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts, Jr.

Critics say The Federalist Society and its judges are opposed to social and economic progress in America and fight laws that benefit women, the environment, consumer protections, employees and others.

“President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch—another Federalist Society-approved judge—who is only 50 years old. Justice Gorsuch will likely be on the bench for at least a quarter-century. And President Trump’s next pick for the Supreme Court will likely be on the bench deciding American law for even longer than that,” Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said. “It is a historically critical decision that the president has to make about our next Supreme Court justice. It should be a person who represents all of America and American legal precedent—not someone who is beholden to a select group of conservative judicial lobbyists. That’s not going to benefit our country; in fact, it would only further our national division.”

“Here at home, will Connecticut’s pro-choice, elected Republicans finally stand up to President Trump? Republican legislators spoke against ‘activist judges’ in the state Senate when they all voted against Justice Andrew McDonald to be chief justice. He is no activist judge. Republicans should at least be consistent, unless their statements about Justice McDonald were just all politics and all for show,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “We cannot stand idly and silently by while the highest court in America is handed over to a cabal of rubber-stamped activist judges. If Trump holds true to form, we’re going to be stuck with yet another ultra-conservative Federalist Society pick of the week who is going to vote to roll-back legal protections for women, minorities, working people, the environment, people who are not heterosexuals—in short, the president’s next Supreme Court pick will likely bring legal harm to a large swath of America.”

The letter to President Trump:

July 6, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to you concerning the current vacancy on the United States Supreme Court created by the impending retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. We have significant concerns about the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that was provided to you by the Federalist Society and from which list you are reportedly conducting interviews.

First, you have stated that you will not be asking these potential appointees whether or not they will uphold the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). Did outside groups, such as the Federalist Society, who ‘vetted’ your list of potential Supreme Court appointees, ask whether or not these individuals would commit to upholding Roe v. Wade, and if so, what were their answers? In other words, have you already been assured of the answers to that question without needing to formally pose it yourself?

Second, will you appoint a justice to the Supreme Court who is committed to stare decisis and upholding previous United States Supreme Court decisions? Previously Justice Neil Gorsuch stated that he was committed to the principal of stare decisis, and yet, in Janus v. AFSCME, 585 U.S. ____ (2018), he voted to overturn 41 years of precedent.

As you know, these are important questions that need to be asked and that we, as elected leaders, must ask you on behalf of our constituents. We do not wish to see a return to ‘back-alley abortions.’ We want to see 46 years of precedent respected and upheld by any nominee.

Most respectfully,

Bob Duff​Martin Looney
Senate Majority Leader​Senate President Pro Tempore

Carlo Leone​John Fonfara
27th Senatorial District​1st Senatorial District

Terry Gerratana​Marilyn Moore
6th Senatorial District​22nd Senatorial District

Tim Larson​Douglas McCrory
3rd Senatorial District​2nd Senatorial District

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