Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 16, 2016 – Today President Obama has announced that he has nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat previously held by the late Antonin Scalia. In response the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has issued the following statement:
“JCPA is dedicated to the pursuit of justice,” said David Bernstein, JCPA President and CEO. “Today, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the United States Supreme Court, our nation’s highest court and a symbol of American justice. Now, according to our Constitution, the process shifts to the U.S. Senate and we encourage our elected Senators to carefully and thoughtfully consider Judge Garland’s nomination. In 2002, in our resolution on Careful Consideration of Judicial Nominees,” we urged that judicial ‘vacancies be filled as expeditiously as the full, fair, and prompt evaluation of a judicial nominee will permit.’ Today, we renew that call.”
“The framers of our Constitution envisioned three, fully functioning and co-equal branches of government. Having only eight Supreme Court Justices for an extended period of time threatens the capacity and effectiveness of the judicial branch. It would delay – and potentially deny – the timely and fair administration of justice, a key element of our democracy.”
“The United States has long taken pride in its independent and impartial judiciary,” said JCPA Chair Susan W. Turnbull. “Every major issue of our time, from civil rights to religious liberty, from fair sentences to the electoral process, comes before the Supreme Court. Choosing a new Justice is difficult and complex. It requires thoughtfulness, collaboration, process, and a determined focus on fairness and the rule of law. Over the next few weeks, we will review the Supreme Court vacancy and Judge Garland’s nomination. JCPA has established a special committee, chaired by Dr. David Luchins and composed of representatives from our member agencies to carefully evaluate our engagement.”
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.