How To "Call For Nine" Supreme Court Justices & Tell Senators To Do Their Jobs
The very day that Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wouldn't consider any of President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominees. The reason? It's Obama's final year in office, and McConnell, backed by a hoard of Republican senators, says that the choice should be made by the next president. However, there is no rule saying that presidents cannot make appointments in their final year; rather, the Constitution clearly states that it is the president's job to nominate judges, and it's the Senate's job to consult with the president and to hold hearings for his or her nominees. The #CallForNine campaign tells Republican senators to do their jobs, and you can get in on the action.
The Republican senators who are refusing to even meet with Judge Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee, have raised the ire of Democrats as well as a minority of Republicans in the Senate, and the general public isn't thrilled with the obstructionism, either. #CallForNine, also hashtagging as #WeNeedNine, was begun by the Constitutional Responsibility Project.
The idea is to overwhelm Republican senators with the following message, as stated on the campaign page: "We don't get to decide not to do our jobs. Neither should the U.S. Senate. Hold a hearing to consider Chief Judge Garland and restore the Supreme Court to nine justices." The point isn't to express support for Garland in particular, but to press senators to fulfill one of their fundamental duties. With only eight justices on the Supreme Court, cases may result in ties, meaning rulings defer to lower-court decisions. This kind of takes away from the whole point of having a Supreme Court.
You can participate in the #CallForNine in a few ways. You can call McConnell's office at the number above; as Senate majority leader, he holds quite a bit of sway in this debate. You can also call your senators through the campaign page by simply entering your phone number and zip code, and the website will connect you to your senators' offices. It also provides an easy way for you to email your senators with your message (or the one they provide in a form letter) regarding the Supreme Court nomination process.
It's particularly important to reach out to your senators if one or both has expressed unwillingness to hold hearings for Garland, or has remained silent on the issue. The New York Times keeps a handy updated list of where Republican senators stand on holding hearings. Only 17 of the 54 Republicans in the Senate have expressed a willingness to meet with Garland, and a paltry four have expressed support for holding hearings and voting on him.
If one or both of your senators is on the long list of those refusing to fulfill their responsibilities, and you're part of the majority of Americans that wants the Senate to hold hearings, #CallForNine or email your senators.