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Friday, July 01, 2005

Justice O'Connor Retiring

Posted by Bob Brigham

I just added a new Supreme Court category. We'll have tons of coverage. From a People for the American Way email:

We've been waiting and preparing for a Supreme Court retirement for the last 5 years and so has President Bush. He finally has the opportunity he's been waiting for: the chance to reward his right-wing base with a far-right appointment to the Supreme Court.

Constitutional rights and freedoms will be affected for decades based on what we as a people do in the coming months. Our very national identity hangs in the balance and progressives must be loud and clear. You must step up now.

We don't need to tell you what kind of jurist President Bush might nominate; you already know he cites Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas as his models for Supreme Court nominees - justices far to the right of moderately conservative O'Connor. Given his divisive lower court appointments - and the fact that right-wing groups have already pledged $20 million to back that kind of nominee - we can probably take him at his word here.

With Justice O'Connor providing the swing vote on critical 5-4 decisions regarding privacy, reproductive rights, affirmative action, government neutrality toward religion, and more, we cannot overstate the profound impact her replacement could have on the direction of American law and society.

We've called on President Bush to select a consensus nominee, but given his track record the odds are good that you and PFAW will have to mount a tireless campaign this summer to stop the confirmation of a bad nominee to the Supreme Court.

Because we don't know who the nominee will be, we are now asking for two universally essential needs: money and activists.

Please give us $10 and help us recruit 10 activists

The requested donation is low because we want as many of you as possible to invest in this campaign - even if you've never donated to a political cause before. We want tens of thousands of people to say with pride, "I helped make this possible."

Recruiting 10 activists is not so easy, but it is free. Please work hard to do this even if you can't give the $10. The more people talking at water coolers, writing their Senators, calling radio stations and emailing their friends, the harder it will be for Bush to slip a right-wing extremist onto the Supreme Court. You know better than we who out there will help, if asked. Be a salesperson for judicial independence and get your friends and family involved. They will thank you later.

With your help, we will pull out all the stops to saturate the media and mobilize people in the public square with three key messages:

1. President Bush MUST take seriously the Constitution's "advise and consent" requirement and nominate a consensus candidate with broad bipartisan support.
2. The Senate leadership MUST provide ample time for hearings and review of any nominee.
3. And, the eventual nominee MUST fully disclose - and justify - his or her judicial philosophy, especially on key constitutional issues.

These are not radical ideas; they are common sense.

PFAW has been at the forefront of battles against extreme judicial nominees - including nominees to the Supreme Court. Our expert staff has broad and deep experience working with and within the Senate; researching nominees; disseminating facts and analysis; and organizing people across the nation to weigh in on Congressional votes - especially confirmation votes.

We know that helping us generate funds and recruit activists is less exciting than writing a letter of outrage, calling an elected official, going to a rally, monitoring an election poll, hosting a house party, attending a meeting in your Senator's office, and all the other things you have done with us. Actions like these are coming - and soon - but right now we need to build our network of activists and lay the groundwork for the coming months.

Please give us $10 or 10 activists, or both. It's important, and no one knows that better than you.

- Your Allies at People For the American Way

More to come...

Posted at 10:56 AM in Supreme Court | Technorati