Nine Hawaiʻi State Legislators Join National Call to En SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representatives Della Au Belatti, Romy Cachola, Linda Ichiyama, Chris Lee, Amy Perruso, Roy Takumi, Tina Wildberger and Senators Michelle N. Kidani and Stanley Chang joined 405 state and local leaders from 48 states and Washington, D.C., in signing a letter to insist that the confirmation process of a new justice to the Supreme Court of the United States is ended until after Inauguration Day in 2021.
“The American people need to have confidence that the judicial process is fair and impartial. Confirming a new justice to the highest court at a time when millions are already voting across the country and a raging pandemic is devastating our communities is irresponsible and puts politics over people,” said House Majority Leader Belatti (D-24, Makiki, Tantalus, Papakōlea, McCully, Pāwaʻa, Mānoa).
The call for the end to the confirmation process comes just as the United States Senate is holding hearings for President Donald Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, it would allow the court a solid 6-3 conservative majority. Many leaders are concerned a new justice with a lifetime appointment would erode the many gains the United States has made in people of color and women achieving equality, healthcare protections that have been enacted through the Affordable Care Act, and voting reforms that have ensured more people have greater access to the ballot box.
“I’m demanding, with hundreds of my colleagues from across the nation, that members of the U.S. Senate refuse to confirm a nominee before the American people have a chance to decide this election,” said Representative Ichiyama (D-32, Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Āliamanu).
The U.S. Senate pulled together the confirmation hearings in the last week, just eighteen days before election day and with multiple members of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently testing positive for the coronavirus. It is anticipated that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to approve the nomination of Barrett on Thursday, October 22, with a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor for the week of October 26.
“Under normal circumstances, Supreme Court confirmation hearings take months, but the reality is we are seven months into a global pandemic with no end in sight, three weeks away from a presidential election, and Justice Ginsburg has only been gone from us for a month. There is no logical reason for this confirmation to go forward at this time,” said Senate Vice President Kidani, Vice President (D-18, Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia).
The letter was coordinated by SiX Action, Local Progress, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NOBEL Women, and Young Elected Officials (YEO).