We call upon the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court until the questions of Russian interference in the election, and potential Trump campaign coordination or collusion, have been fully investigated.

On Monday, March 20th, FBI Director James Comey told the U.S. House of Representatives:

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

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. These allegations reach to the highest levels. For example, FBI Director Comey’s supervisor, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has himself been forced to recuse himself from Russia-related investigations after failing to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador in the summer of 2016.

Under these circumstances, with the legitimacy of the election itself in question, the Senate must not confirm a judge—any judge—to a life-tenured position on the Supreme Court. This issue stands entirely apart from Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications and jurisprudence. Rather, this is a question of the legitimacy of the President to nominate any Supreme Court Justice under this cloud.

In the words of Supreme Court reporter Dahlia Lithwick and Professor Sonja West, “[t]he nomination of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court cannot be separated or shielded from the serious questions that plague the Trump presidency. . . . Until the presidency is no longer under a cloud, there can be no hearings, and there can be no votes.”

We call upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone confirmation hearings for Judge Gorsuch until the FBI has completed its investigation, and Congress and the American public have had an opportunity to review its findings.


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