FreedomWorks, the conservative activist group rooted in the tea party movement, is throwing its support behind Senate Republicans who are refusing to hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s eventual nominee to the Supreme Court.
“On behalf of our 5.7 million members nationwide, we strongly urge you to avoid holding hearings to consider any nominee to the Supreme Court until the next president is sworn into office,” FreedomWorks chief executive Adam Brandon writes in a letter to Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter, which copies Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is to be sent to the lawmakers Wednesday.
The Judiciary Committee will meet for the first time at 9:30 Wednesday morning — Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who has taken herself out of the running for a SCOTUS perch — will testify as the panel does routine Justice Department oversight.
The FreedomWorks move comes a day after 17 environmental groups, in their own letter to McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), called on the Senate to hold prompt hearings and a vote on the nominee. It is the largest coordinated effort by environmental organizations to influence the nomination process.
In the FreedomWorks letter, Brandon argues that it is within the Senate’s constitutional rights to withhold consent of a nominee.
“We want to thank you for your commitment to holding firm on this issue and insisting that the American people have a chance to democratically determine the shape of the Supreme Court,” he writes. “We trust that, in the face of the inevitable political pressures, your resolve will remain strong and your opposition to confirmation hearings adamant.”
Although FreedomWorks has weighed in on judicial appointments before, it is taking a more aggressive stance on the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who they view as a conservative icon. The week after Scalia’s death, FreedomWorks activists sent 15,000 messages to McConnell’s office, urging him to remain steadfast in his categorical rejection of any Obama nominee. The group is now planning grassroots events around the country, including FreePAC in Cincinnati on Saturday, where Curt Levey, executive director of FreedomWorks Foundation, plans to speak. Levey led the conservative legal group Committee for Justice, which is now part of FreedomWorks.
“We’re putting a significant amount of resources into it,” said the group’s communications director Jason Pye. “This remains a huge priority for us.”