In shadow of Trump’s Immigration Orders, Pingree Urges Need for Supreme Court Justice Who Can Uphold Check and Balance on Executive Branch

Pingree Joined Immigration Attorney, ACLU, Maine Conservation Voters, and Planned Parenthood for Press Conference to Highlight Importance of Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
January 30, 2017 5:30 pm

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Portland, ME – As legal residents were barred from entering the country this weekend due to President Trump’s immigration orders, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree held a press conference today to highlight how the soon-to-be-announced nominee for a vacant seat Supreme Court needs to be someone who can uphold a balance of power on the Executive Branch. She was joined by a longtime immigrant legal rights advocate, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Maine Conservation Voters, and an advocate for Planned Parenthood to outline how the nominee will influence the treatment of minorities, women’s health care access, civil liberties, and the environment.

“In his first week on the job, President Trump attacked women’s reproductive rights, resurrected two pipeline projects that will damage our environment, and targeted Muslims from entering the country. Courts have already had to step in to keep lawful residents of this country from being deported,” said Pingree. “It’s clear we need a Supreme Court that can keep the powers of the Executive Branch in check. I hope to see a nominee who has the credentials and commitment to our Constitution—not a President—to serve a lifetime appointment on our nation’s highest court.”

“Our judicial branch is a fundamental check and balance on the Congress and the Executive. That was demonstrated clearly this past weekend when the Federal Courts issued an emergency stay of President Trump’s Executive Order barring entry to the U.S. of refugees and of individuals, even permanent residents, from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The vacancy on the Supreme Court must be filled soon by a centrist jurist, so that the Judicial Branch can be fully functional as critical matters make their way up to the Supreme Court,” said Beth Stickney, an immigration attorney for 30 years, and founder and former director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project.

“The President’s nominee must be committed to safeguarding our cherished Constitutional freedoms. America needs a Supreme Court justice who will uphold equal justice under the law and act as a check against political attacks on freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, and the right to vote,” said Zachary Heiden, Legal Director, ACLU of Maine.

“In Maine, our jobs, our health, our way of life, and our children’s future are deeply connected to the health of our environment,” said Maureen Drouin, Executive Director of Maine Conservation Voters. “The Supreme Court ultimately decides whether our air, land, and waters are polluted or protected.”

President Trump has said being anti-abortion is a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees.

At the press conference, Susan Johnston, an advocate for Planned Parenthood, shared her personal experience of how difficult and dangerous it was to obtain an abortion in America before Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case which guaranteed a woman the right to make her own healthcare decisions.

“If access to birth control or abortion is restricted, or if Roe v. Wade is overturned, millions of women will find themselves in the same situation I faced so many years ago. The thought is terrifying. That’s why I’m sharing my story. Without Roe v. Wade, without access to safe, legal abortion, women will have no choice but to turn to illegal, potentially unsafe, options—and they may not be as lucky as I was. We cannot, we must not, go backwards,” said Johnston.

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