Sen. Tina Smith on Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s Retirement: “Pivotal Moment in Our Country”

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/27/18]—Today, while delivering a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tina Smith made the following statement on Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement.

You can access video of her remarks here.

“This is a pivotal moment in our country. With Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement today, the stakes have never been higher for making sure we choose a Supreme Court justice committed to the constitution and protecting the most fundamental rights of Americans—the right to vote, the ability to organize, a woman’s right to choose. And whomever replaces Justice Kennedy will no doubt have a say on issues that affect the lives of every American—on issues like our health care system, our elections, and the health of our environment.

“In February of 2016, some 9 months before the 2016 election, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying that, quote, ‘the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.’ And he kept his word: he didn’t hold a hearing or a vote on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, during that election year.

“I believe Republicans should be held to the same standard they set themselves. The Senate has a constitutional duty to provide advice and consent. We are a little more than 4 months away from an election that will decide the balance of the Senate. So let’s let the American people decide who provides that advice and consent—especially given the close balance of the Senate as it stands today.”