MADISON, Wis. — The United States Senate is scheduled to begin a summer recess today that will run through early September. As they prepare to skip town, Sen. Ron Johnson and his Republican colleagues have left important work undone, like refusing to give a fair hearing and timely vote to President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court and failing to take final action to fill the longest running federal appeals court vacancy in the nation. The Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, that covers Wisconsin has been without its full complement of judges for nearly 2,400 days.
A Supreme Court nominee has never had to wait longer than 125 days for a confirmation vote. Since the 1980s, every person appointed to the Supreme Court has been given a prompt hearing and vote within 100 days. In fact, 17 Supreme Court justices have been confirmed during an election year, including current Justice Kennedy, a nominee of President Reagan, who was confirmed by a Democratic Senate in 1988, a presidential election year.
If obstructionist Senators like Johnson get their way, the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court could sit vacant for more than a year and span two Supreme Court terms, damaging the Court and its ability to effectively rule on key issues. The Seventh Circuit vacancy will also go unfilled for months more too.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Institute Program Director Analiese Eicher:
“Sen. Johnson is choosing to avoid and cower instead of doing his job as and providing advice and consent on federal court nominees,
“Our courts matter because of the important work they do. But Sen. Johnson’s unprecedented partisanship means they can’t do their job, like ensuring all Americans are treated equally regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation and protecting our rights to participate in the political process.
“He ought to have to stay after school and study the United States Constitution and what it says about doing his job, not take months of recess.”