Mormon Women for Ethical Government, a nonpartisan group with more than 7,000 members, urged the U.S. Senate to wait until after the election to select a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“We are disappointed by the rush to hold Supreme Court hearings in the midst of a highly contentious election,” the group said Tuesday on its Facebook page. “While we respect the constitutional right of the president to nominate and the Senate to confirm, there is no constitutional requirement as to timing. By pushing this nomination and confirmation forward, the president and Senate risk doing significant and lasting institutional harm.”
In a separate Salt Lake Tribune op-ed, Jennifer Walker Thomas, the group’s director of nonpartisanship, wrote that “the interests of the president and those of the country are in direct, irreconcilable conflict.”
“A justice chosen by the president and seated just weeks before Nov. 3 would likely be called upon to help determine election results,” she warned, “and ultimately could cast a deciding vote on legal and civic matters in which the president has personal interest.”
Thomas pointed to President Donald Trump’s “propensity” to put personal interests ahead of those of the nation and his efforts to undermine Americans’ faith in the electoral process.
“The members of the Senate must choose between what is best for the president, personally,” she said, “or what is best for the institutional integrity of the United States."
Also on Tuesday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah and a fellow member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced his support for allowing the nomination process to move forward.
Romney’s rejection of a “fairness” argument — Republicans had blocked one of President Barack Obama’s high court nominees 11 months before an election — is “correct,” MWEG’s statement said. “However, there are other legitimate reasons to slow down the nomination process.”
The women encouraged Romney and his colleagues “to consider and weigh the merits of these arguments.”
There is “no precedent for allowing a president to have such extraordinary influence over the outcome of an election he threatens to contest,” the statement said. “As an organization, we care deeply about not only the rule of law but also the norms that hold our institutions together.”
Earlier this year, the women’s group, which is independent of the Utah-based faith, applauded Romney’s “tremendously courageous” vote to remove Trump from office during the Senate impeachment trial, sending him thousands of congratulatory letters. Romney was the lone Republican to cast such a vote.
The Latter-day Saint women also lauded Ginsburg as a role model.
She “taught women how to push beyond the constraints placed upon them,” the group wrote on its website. “... While no single individual can take her place, her life’s work is best measured by the millions of women she empowered who will pick up where she left off. The women of MWEG are committed to continuing this work and taking up her challenge to ‘fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’”