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Pennsylvanians to Sen. Toomey: “#DoYourJob because the Court is a big deal”

Dozens highlight key issues hinging on Supreme Court Nomination

Philadelphia, PA — Pennsylvanians gathered outside Senator Toomey’s (R-PA) office today to highlight a variety of critical issues facing the U.S. Supreme Court today. Constituents and advocacy organizations argued that on issues including the environment, women’s health, worker rights, racial justice, equality and more, Sen. Toomey’s claim that the U.S. Supreme Court Nomination “isn’t a big deal” was a slap in their face.

“Senator Toomey needs to do his job and consider an Obama nominee for the Supreme Court,” said ACTION United member Henry Turner.  “Unfortunately, Toomey seems to be in lock step with the Republican leadership hellbent on throwing up roadblocks to our President. Its unprecedented and unacceptable. ”

The ground has shifted on numerous issues expected to reach the court over the next year with the sudden passing of Justice Scalia. And, it has become more complicated as Senator Toomey has joined with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in refusing to consider any nomination sent to the U.S. Senate by President Obama.

For instance, Justice Scalia was seen as a key architect in the Court issuing a temporary stay for the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a major effort to reduce climate pollution from power plants. With many legal experts seeing the case as a 4-4 tie now, the lower Courts may make the ultimate decision on the future of historic climate action.

“With the earth hanging in the balance, its time for Senator Toomey to ensure that the Supreme Court is fully ready to address the Clean Power Plan and other environmental issues,” said PennEnvironment member Hao-Li Tai Loh.

Planned Parenthood joined the group today to stress the irresponsibility of Senator Toomey and his colleagues in refusing to consider any nominee put forth by President Obama

“The Constitution and 43 years of Supreme Court precedent protect women’s access to safe and legal abortion.  Planned Parenthood will remain focused on making sure those protections are not undermined, but are upheld and reaffirmed,” said Maggie Groff, Vice President for External Affairs, Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA.

In the past year, the Supreme Court decisions have had an enormous impact on the LGBT community by granting them the freedom to marry, revolutionizing many people’s lives. However, there is no law at the state or federal level that currently protects LGBT people from discrimination at work, in housing, or business and government services, an issue that could be decided by a court case. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently interpreted federal law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in limited circumstances, but even these limited protections are facing court challenges that may reach the Supreme Court. In fact, the first test case for this issue was just filed in Pittsburgh—and its imperative the Court be able to render substantive decisions on the legal rights and responsibilities of all Americans.

“With critical cases about access to medical care, equal protection, and ballot access for LGBT people reaching the Supreme Court this term, it is imperative that the court be able to do it’s job to make decisions,” said Ernest Owens, Board Member, Equality PA. “That’s why Equality PA is here today to call on Sen. Pat Toomey to do his job and give Supreme Court nominees a fair and timely hearing.”

With so much at stake, voters across the political spectrum want Sen. Toomey to evaluate a nominee on their merits after an evaluation according to a recent poll from PPP. The poll found 57% of Pennsylvanians are focused on the Senator executing the constitutional responsibility of his office, instead of refusing to support hearings on any potential nominee.

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A coalition of groups gathered together for this day of action including, Equality Pennsylvania, PennEnvironment, ACTION United, Planned Parenthood and others.

 

 

 

 

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