Participants in a Democratic National Committee conference call were quick to react woefully to news of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s impending retirement.
Right after the justice announced his plan to step down July 31, those attending the rules committee meeting began shouting their dismay. In a recording shared by Politico’s David Siders, participants could be heard saying: “Ohh,” “Oh, my God,” and “This is not good news for anyone.”
How it sounded inside a DNC committee meeting the moment Justice Kennedy’s retirement was announced pic.twitter.com/6S9uO2JGzQ
— David Siders (@davidsiders) June 27, 2018
Another individual declared, “Not that he has done us any good on these recent decisions, but he was the one that was easily persuadable.”
Tom Perez, chairman of the DNC, then reportedly slammed the GOP over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) successful effort to filibuster then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, in 2016.
“They stole a fifth seat … their goal was to take aim at the heart of our values,” Perez said, according to Siders.
Following Kennedy’s announcement, President Donald Trump confirmed he would nominate the outgoing justice’s replacement from a list the White House generated last fall.
During the 2016 election, then-candidate Trump said his nomination of one or two Supreme Court justices would “automatically” trigger the overturning of the court’s landmark 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, the case that ensured abortion access across the United States.
Perez, for his part, demanded ideological purity from progressive politicians last year, when he essentially said he would not tolerate any intraparty dissent regarding abortion, The Huffington Post reported.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” he said. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
Perez made the comment after Democrat Heath Mello, who was at the time campaigning to be mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, faced backlash from the left over his past support of certain pro-life legislative efforts, despite the fact he said, if elected, he “would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care,” noting his faith informs his “personal” opposition to abortion.
The DNC chief said at the time he “fundamentally” disagreed with Mello’s convictions and said “every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same, because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period.”