Leaders Outline Stakes for Latino Community in Looming Supreme Court Nomination, Launch National Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15th, 2016

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

WASHINGTON, DC - Members of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the nation's 40 preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, and Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary (HFJ), a non-partisan network of elected officials, legal, civil rights, labor, academic and political leaders, spoke on the issues at stake for the Latino community if Senate leaders continue to refuse to give full consideration, including a hearing and a vote, to any Supreme Court nominee this year. They also outlined components of a national campaign to urge the Senate to act, including direct outreach to Senators on Capitol Hill and in their home states, events across the country, and social media efforts to mobilize Latino engagement.

“The federal courts have historically been an avenue of last resort in the civil rights movement, and that remains true today for all marginalized communities especially Latinos. Vacancies in those courts, especially at the Supreme Court, diminish the role of the judiciary in our democratic society. The Senators must do their job and allow the process to go forward,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

"The Latino community is united in defending the integrity of the judicial system because the stakes are so high for us. Through a national campaign, we will make the voices of America's 58 million Latinos heard loud and clear: Senators must do their job and fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court," said Hector Sanchez, NHLA Chair and Executive Director, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

“The text and earliest history of the Constitution, as well as the simple logic of effective governance, amply demonstrate that the Senate is obligated to act on a nomination by President Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel and Vice Chair of the NHLA. “The vacuous explanations for inaction offered by Senate leadership will not fool the Latino community, which helped to re-elect a president in 2012 to serve for a full four years, not for three years and two or three months.”

"The Supreme Court is an essential institution in our democratic society. It is a dereliction of duty to put this branch of our government on hold for partisan reasons,” said Maria Blanco, Executive Director of the Undocumented Legal Services Center at UC Davis School of Law.

"Our Constitution outlines roles and responsibilities for each one of our branches of government that are designed to serve the American people and to protect against the politics of division that would threaten our democratic process,” said Robert T. Maldonado, National President for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). “The absence of immediate action by the U.S. Senate on a Supreme Court nominee would be an abrogation of their moral and constitutional duty and should not be taken lightly. It would set an alarming precedent that cannot be erased and would only be used to damage a democracy that is the envy of the world."

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