A consortium of conservative leaders said in a letter Tuesday that they will take action to back Republican senators who took a “principled stand” in refusing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee this year.
More than 100 leaders signed the letter by the Conservative Action Project that will go to Republican senators and conservative advocacy groups, including Edwin Meese III, former attorney general in the Reagan administration, and Becky Norton Dunlop, a former Reagan adviser who is CAP chairwoman.
“We are facing a national constitutional crisis,” the letter states. “Senate Republicans have recognized the stakes and have acted accordingly. As conservatives, we strongly support them and their principled stand in favor of the Constitution.”
The letter goes out in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s nomination to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a consistently conservative justice who died Feb. 13. Obama is widely expected to make his announcement this week, accompanied with a push to pressure Republican senators into caving on their stance and allowing confirmation hearings and a Senate floor vote for the nominee.
Other signers include Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, Herman Cain, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, James C. Dobson and Grover Norquist, as well as former congressmen Bob McEwen of Ohio and David McIntosh of Indiana.
“We are committed to acting with the same unity the GOP Senate has demonstrated to date in order to bring these issues to the forefront, to make clear to the American people what is at stake and to rally our fellow citizens to the cause of saving the Constitution,” the letter states.
Senate Democrats have heaped political pressure on Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa. Grassley controls whether confirmation hearings will be held, but has said he and other Republicans on the committee think the next president should fill the vacancy.
Democrats also will be pressing the issue in contested races in a bid to win the five seats needed to retake control of the Senate.
The Supreme Court fight has already led to advertisements and demonstrations, including protesters who last week interrupted a speech by Judiciary Committee member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, about leaving the Supreme Court seat vacant until the next president.
The letter states the conservative groups are “all too aware of the negative assault that is coming against the Republican senators” as the national media throw its “weight against the GOP efforts to allow the American people to play their rightful role in the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice."
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