A Letter to Senator Pat Toomey
My name is Scott DuBree. I am a Pennsylvanian born and raised, and my pride in our state is second only to that in our Union among the states. I write to you as a citizen to his representative, in respectful exercise of my right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The sudden passing of Justice Scalia is regrettable, as it would be of any Justice that held his office in good behavior. While I did not agree with many of the late Justice’s opinions, it is impossible for a patriotic citizen not to admire his full-throated devotion to the Constitution, a devotion he championed with candor, wit, and eloquence for nearly thirty years.
It is a similar devotion to the letter and spirit of the Constitution that compels this petition. I was deeply disturbed to learn that you were one of the first to voice your support for the senior Senator from Kentucky regarding the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s death. That Senator, within an hour of the Justice’s death, stated, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Senator, I find this sentiment repulsive to republican values. The people have stamped our voice in bronze, and the tablet we’ve carved is our Constitution and our laws. We have bestowed upon you and your colleagues the power and duty to uphold both. The law is clear: the Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. The Constitution is clear: the President shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, he shall appoint judges of the Supreme Court.
By what right, then, does the Senator from Kentucky deny that the people have a voice in our government at this very moment? Were you not duly elected? Have you not sworn, before God Himself, to support and defend the Constitution? Are you not bound to uphold your duties under the law? I disdain any man that would call our greatest inheritance–government of, by, and for the people–illegitimate. But that slander seems to me the ultimate and only message in Senator McConnell’s statement.
Unfortunately, Senator, I found your statement little better. I must be brief, else I’d ask you to justify the patently false assertion that “in the final year of a presidency, it is common for vacancies that arise on the Supreme Court to await the outcome of the next election,” or the rank hypocrisy that claims “less than 72 hours since Justice Scalia’s passing there has already been too much politicking around the issue of his replacement.” I have time only to protest your take on Leader McConnell’s proposition: “Given that we are already well into the presidential election process and that the Supreme Court appointment is for a lifetime, it makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision.”
It is true that some of our sister states have begun cranking the mechanisms of party politics in preparation for the next election. It is nauseatingly apparent that that “process” is indeed well underway. But that process, Senator, is not our presidential election process. The presidential election process begins at the appointment of electors from each state, and ends with the peaceful succession of executive power from one man to another. This constitutional process has proven itself more conducive to individual liberty than any example the history of former times provides us. It has allowed the people to grant authority secure in the knowledge that it shall one day be withdrawn.
I refuse to accept that the current machinations of the parties and monied interests lessen to any degree an authority granted in trust by the people. You insult all Pennsylvanians (and presume too much) when you claim that they spoke less directly in 2008 and 2012 than they will in 2016. You do a disservice to your oath and your office when you subordinate the immediate needs of our government to the squabbles of unelected partisans.
The only way our representatives may maintain the respect of the people is if our representatives have respect for themselves. We do not elect our leaders so that they may better beggar themselves before the rich. We do not consent to an ideology that places party before the nation. We do not tolerate any challenge to our sovereignty.
The people have spoken, Senator, and we will soon speak again. But we will not be talked to in that tone of voice.
Sincerely and respectfully,
Scott R. DuBree