Corporate Lawyers and General Counsels Nationwide Issue Letter toPresident Obama, Senators McConnell and Grassley onCurrent U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 9, 2016 – Today, corporate lawyers and general counsels around the country submitted a letter to President Barack Obama, Senators Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell expressing concern within the corporate legal and business community regarding the current vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. The letter was joined by close to 250 senior lawyers from across the country including partners at major law firms, former and current general counsels and other practitioners, many of whom regularly appear before federal district courts, the Circuit Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The letter encourages President Obama to exercise his constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor to the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and encourages the Senate to fulfill its constitutional role and grant that nominee fair consideration and a full Senate floor vote.
“The U.S. Supreme Court stands at the helm of one of our three branches of government,” the letter states. “Every term, critical cases come before the Court concerning issues of great public importance, including cases alleging violations of the Constitution or federal law. The Supreme Court also considers cases implicating the interests of major corporations, private-sector organizations and businesses across the country. The impact of a stalemate at the Supreme Court may have a profound effect on our economy, creating uncertainty for the financial industry, major corporate employers, as well as small businesses.”
John Nonna, co-managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs in New York, N.Y., stated: “America’s business community expects and needs a fully functional Supreme Court. That means nine justices. It is a dereliction of Constitutional duty for the Senate Majority Leader and Judiciary Committee Chair to call for a disobedience of the Constitutional mandate to provide “advice and consent.””
James Joseph, partner at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., stated: “For advice and consent to function as intended by the founders of our government, all sides must engage in the process in good faith. That does not appear to be the case in this instance. “
Andrew Hendry, retired vice chairman, chief legal officer and secretary of Colgate-Palmolive, commented: “Having been the chief legal officer of two major American companies over more than a quarter-century, I can assure you that American business needs a complete nine Justice Supreme Court. The uncertainty created by an empty chair on the Court for a prolonged period will damage American business. The recent $835 million settlement by Dow, which a noted plaintiff’s lawyer called the first casualty on the business side,” clearly demonstrates this risk. Proceeding with the confirmation process should not be a liberal versus conservative issue. The Court needs to be restored to its full complement of nine Justices as quickly as possible, giving the business community the predictability to which it is entitled.”