February 24, 2016

Top Constitutional Law Scholars Say No Exception to the Rule in Filling Supreme Court Vacancy in Election Year

Paul Guequierre, Director of Communications, pguequierre@acslaw.org or (202) 393-6187

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the announcement of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate declared they would not consider a nominee to succeed Scalia in an election year.

Today, a group of the nation’s leading constitutional law scholars, organized by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), sent an open letter to President Obama and the United States Senate leadership urging them to fulfill their constitutional duties with regard to the vacancy on the Supreme Court. The professors state that the president has the duty to nominate a candidate to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy and the Senate has the duty to “advise and consent,” which means to hold hearings and to vote on the nominee. The scholars note that Article II of the Constitution is explicit that the president “shall nominate . . .  judges of the Supreme Court” and that there is no exception to this provision for election years.

The scholars further note that it would be “unprecedented” for the Senate to fail to consider a Supreme Court nominee, and “would leave a vacancy that would undermine the ability of the Supreme Court to carry out its constitutional duties.”

Read the full letter here.

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), founded in 2001 and one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations, is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals dedicated to making the law a force to improve lives of all people. For more information about the organization or to locate one of the more than 200 lawyer and law student chapters in 48 states, please visit www.acslaw.org.