Today, ahead of the one-year anniversary of oral arguments in the historic Supreme Court of the United States marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, has renewed its call for the Senate Judiciary Committee to fulfil its constitutional obligation and hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, U.S. Federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland.
“The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold the rights of all Americans, and throughout our history the court’ has been instrumental in affirming the Constitutional rights of LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It’s time for Senate Republicans to stop playing politics with our nation’s highest court and fulfil their constitutional obligations by granting Merrick Garland the hearing he deserves.”
It has been 43 days since President Obama nominated Judge Garland to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia in February. While Judge Garland has been meeting with members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continue to stonewall efforts to grant Judge Garland a fair hearing. HRC has joined dozens of organizations around the country in condemning Senate Republican leaders for their unprecedented obstruction, and highlighting the importance of an up or down vote.
The decisions made by the Supreme Court establish important legal precedents that affect the daily lives of all Americans, including those who are LGBT. In the few months since Justice Scalia’s passing, the Court has already decided cases involving voting rights and public unions, and is expected to rule on a host of critical issues including immigration, abortion rights and affirmative action in coming weeks. The American people deserve a fully-functioning Court with nine justices seated and considering cases before it.
Over the past 25 years, the LGBT community has benefited from the court’s groundbreaking affirmation of constitutional protections due to LGBT people, including in Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges. Notably, each of these rulings was decided by a razor-thin margin of just one vote. While each has bettered the lives of millions of Americans, during that same time there have also been tremendously disappointing rulings, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Shelby County v. Holder, that have been both far-reaching and harmful to many people across our country. These cases all underscore the need for nine justices on the Supreme Court bench, each with a robust understanding of the fundamental rights and Equal Protections for all Americans.
Learn more at www.hrc.org/campaigns/courting-equality and follow #DoYouJob on Twitter for ongoing updates.