This letter is directed primarily to Sen. Pat Toomey and his fellow Republican U.S. Senators. Before taking office, all current Republican Senators took the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
With regard to “bearing true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution, that document provides in Article II that the President has the power to nominate judges of the Supreme Court with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate.
Supreme Court Justice Scalia died Feb. 13, 2016. Out of respect for Justice Scalia, President Obama waited until March 16, 2016, to nominate Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy. At that point, Sen. Toomey, you and other Senators had a constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent with regard to President Obama’s nomination. You and your Republican colleagues chose to abdicate your constitutional responsibility with you stating, “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice.”
There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for the American people, by way of an election, to select Supreme Court Justices. That responsibility is vested in the President to make the nomination and in the Senate to provide advice and consent.
You chose at that time to make up reason not grounded in the Constitution to breach your oath.
Sen. Graham, now Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised in 2016 that if a Supreme Court vacancy occurred during the last year of President Trump’s term in office, the Senate would not act on a nominee, but, rather, would wait for the results of the November 2020 election. We now know that Senator Graham is unworthy of trust and that his word is meaningless.
Sen. Toomey, the Williamsport Sun Gazette, in a Sept. 22, 2020 headline, indicated that you were silent on whether the Senate should consider a Trump Supreme Court pick. I was hoping that you and your Republican colleagues would be true to your publicly stated position uttered four years ago to let the new President make the nomination. That has not occurred, and I simply urge voters to deal appropriately with U.S. Senators who breach their constitutional oath of fidelity to the Constitution.
WILLIAM A. HEBE
Submitted via email