THE BLOG
12/29/2016 02:51 am ET Updated Dec 29, 2017

On January 3, We Can Still Claim The Supreme Court We Earned!

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

We can still get Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court! The clock is ticking, but the Constitution is on our side. This is an exciting situation, and a petition is already in place. I've signed, I'm asking you to please do so as well.

Why? Because there is not one issue related to clean elections that a Supreme Court with Garland on it wouldn't be able to address in ways that are much more profound than a president and a Congress even can.

Citizens United? To overturn it, we don't need a constitutional amendment (which would take two-thirds of all our states to ratify). We just need a clean-elections majority on the Supreme Court. We already have four justices in place, we just need Garland to join them. And immediately -- Citizens United, and its horrific, unprecedented dumping of money into increasingly corrupted elections -- would be gone. Gerrymandered districts, that have given one party a lockhold on the House of Representatives? Struck down as unconstitutional. Voting restrictions that keep African-American voters and low-income voters from voting? Gone. Laws that prevent those who have been convicted of crimes from voting (which is not only unconstitutional but has an outsized impact on low-income voters and minorities)? Finished.

With Garland's appointment, we'd start moving toward clean elections in America! And with clean elections, everything else starts to take care of itself.

Here's the good news. There is something we can do, this very minute.

At noon on January 3, 2017, the terms of 34 U.S. Senators will expire. At that point, the Senate will briefly consist of 66 sitting senators -- until Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as Senate president, begins swearing in the senators-elect.

Before Biden begins the proceedings, he has a chance to preside over a Senate that consists of 34 Democrats, 2 independents who caucus with Democrats and 30 Republicans. At this point, Democrats could ask to finish Senate business as it pertains to President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

For the past year, Republicans have claimed that the "American people" should decide the fate of that Supreme Court seat. Hillary Clinton got 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, and more Americans voted Democratic in the U.S. Senate races. Democrats are entirely justified to make this move, and it's the only way to guarantee that Garland will be confirmed.


The truth is, the three Justices over the age of 80 would overturn Citizens United. The pro-Citizens United Justices are all in their 60s.

Opponents of clean elections saw this ahead of time, and acted. That's why they refused to hold hearings on Garland. They saw their chance to dominate the Court for decades. We can be angry, but we can't fault a winning strategy. Opponents of clean elections are incredibly effective at gaming the system so that their interests are protected despite the will of the people. Need more proof of this?

The majority of the public has voted for Democratic presidential candidates in four of the last five Presidential elections. And yet only twice has the Democrat taken office.

A majority of the public voted for Democratic Senate candidates in 2016. Yet Republicans retained control of the Senate. A majority of voters voted for Democratic House candidates in 2014. Republicans kept the House anyway. In every election since 2000, Republicans have held far more seats in both Houses than reflected in their percentage of the vote.

With Trump in office, filling up vacancies throughout the federal judiciary; with "unlimited spending" politicians controlling the majority of Congress, of the governorships, of statehouses; the Supreme Court could be the last remaining balance, keeping money out of politics.

This is not a partisan issue. It's an American issue.

That's why it's so important to be able to do something! Take two minutes to sign this petition to persuade Joe Biden to move to instate Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court on January 3rd. Maybe even take a few additional minutes and contact your Senators and Congresspeople, your friends, the press you are familiar with, and ask them to take this opportunity seriously.

America democracy can't survive without clean elections. A vote is a fragile thing. It requires advocacy, vigilance, wisdom, and passion. Please join me in protecting our precious rights while we still can!

And Vice President Biden? If you are listening: you've been a noble public servant your entire career. What better way to leave office, than to take action on behalf of democracy itself.