We call upon the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone the confirmation hearings for any potential nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court until both Congressional impeachment proceedings and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation have concluded.

This is the first time in American history that a president’s campaign has been under criminal investigation for potential coordination with a foreign power to interfere with the election, and the president himself is credibly accused of both criminal and impeachable offenses, including regarding conspiring to solicit help from foreign powers in an election, obstruction of criminal investigations, and unconstitutional acceptance of foreign payments, among others. Furthermore, Trump’s criteria for a new justice will be self-preservation and willingness to accede to power. He already revealed his approach by personally interviewing candidates for the top federal prosecutor for Manhattan, where he and many of his associates face serious legal jeopardy. His checklist for a new justice is sure to include an assessment of whether a prospective justice would uphold a subpoena for testimony from a sitting president, or the validity of a presidential self-pardon.

Under these circumstances, the Senate must not confirm a judge—any judge—to a life-tenured position on the Supreme Court. This issue stands entirely apart from the qualifications and jurisprudence of a potential nominee. Rather, this is a question of the legitimacy of the president to nominate any Supreme Court Justice under this cloud.

We call upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone confirmation hearings for any new justice until the Special Counsel has completed his investigation, and Congress has begun and concluded impeachment hearings, so that the American public may be assured that the new justice is not tainted by Trump’s desire to protect himself from criminal proceedings.