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WASHINGTON DC - Today Planned Parenthood called on Congress to fairly consider the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, Americans mourned the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Yet within hours of the announcement of his death, Senate Republican leadership took the unprecedented action of saying they would refuse to consider any nominee put forth by President Obama during his remaining term as president. The U.S. Constitution clearly obligates the President to nominate and the Senate to provide advice and consent for judicial nominees.  Senator McConnell and other members of his caucus are abdicating their core duties as elected members of the Senate established by the Constitution.

The Senate Republicans’ claim that no Justice has been confirmed during an election year is simply not true.  During President Ronald Reagan’s final year, 1988, the Senate confirmed Justice Anthony Kennedy. In fact, Six Justices have previously been confirmed in presidential election years, including three Republican appointees. What is true is that no seat on the Supreme Court has ever remained vacant for more than 237 days. Yet, if the Senate Republicans succeed in abdicating their responsibilities, Justice Scalia’s vacant seat will be vacant for longer than the 340 days left before the end of the Administration.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Led by Senator McConnell, a group of Senators have stated that they will fail to meet their basic responsibilities as set out by the U.S. Constitution. This is an unprecedented and irresponsible move by Congressional leadership. The American people elected President Obama overwhelmingly as President, twice.  The President has said that he will fulfill his constitutional duty and nominate a successor to Justice Scalia. We expect the Senate to fulfill their constitutional obligations and give the president’s nominee a timely hearing and vote. Members of Congress cannot simply pick and choose when a presidential term begins and ends --- to suggest that they can is utterly nonsensical.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


February 16, 2016