Green Groups Charge GOP Obstructionists with 'Dereliction of Duty'

Leading environmental groups are throwing their weight behind the growing call for Congress to “do its job” and hold hearings and a vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

“There is ample precedent for a nominee to be confirmed in election years, even when the Senate and White House are controlled by opposite political parties,” reads a letter, reportedly sent Tuesday by the green groups to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Willful obstructionism is simply a dereliction of duty, and not what the American people expect from their elected representatives.”

Among the letter’s signatories are Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice, and more than a dozen others. Dan Byrnes, a spokesman for the Sierra Club, told the Washington Post that the letter represented the largest coordinated effort by environmental organizations to weigh in on the Supreme Court nomination process yet.

As Common Dreams has reported, the person chosen to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the high court bench could have a huge impact on U.S. climate change policies—and in turn, on the fate of the planet. 

The letter addresses that sizable influence, saying: “In an era when powerful interests who profit from pollution have an unprecedented level of access and influence, it is imperative that we have functioning courts—particularly our nation’s highest. This is not the time to hobble our judiciary with extended vacancies caused by political gamesmanship.”


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