Sheldon Whitehouse

09/19/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2020 08:12

Whitehouse Statement on Justice Ginsburg and Supreme Court Vacancy

09.19.20

Newport, RI - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the vacancy left on the Court:

'We first must honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life and legacy. She was a remarkable woman, who now steps into history's embrace as one of the most consequential figures in our history. She shattered conventions and set an indelible example; she shaped the law with a creative legal mind and steadfast moral compass. She was magnificent.

'We must also take this moment of reckoning to reflect on America, and to honor her values: Show your face. Keep your word. Protect our institutions. Respect our voices. Love your country first.

'In the shadow of history, Republicans face a choice, and the Republican leader's behavior signals the stakes of that choice. Minutes after learning of Justice Ginsburg's death, Mitch McConnell began strong-arming his caucus, bending Republican senators to his quest to stack the Court with justices amenable to his right-wing donors. We should ask why, and who. What forces of influence are driving this extreme behavior?

'We saw the right wing's court capture machine in operation against Merrick Garland, and for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. We know that machine takes hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous donors, money often run through identity-laundering organizations set up by right-wing billionaires. We saw that machine 'in-sourced' to the White House to select judges. We see that machine stop at nothing to control the Supreme Court, with individual donations in the tens of millions of dollars. What we don't see is who is pulling the strings. It's clandestine, covert. We see Trump's list, but don't ask who's behind that list, and what business they have at the Court - what results they demand.

'This is a moment of destiny. Will Republicans honor the integrity of the Senate-once the greatest deliberative body - or roll over for the right-wing donors funding this covert operation to capture our courts? Will the Senate expose this machinery, and fight against its corrupting influence, to protect the Court for all Americans - or will we pretend that this is just normal politics? An anxious country awaits our choices.'