Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke to about 250 supporters on the UW campus on Monday urging voters to put the Supreme Court at the front of their minds as they consider their choice for president in 2016.
Campaigning ahead of the Wisconsin Primary next Tuesday, April 5, and two days after her competitor Bernie Sanders packed the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Clinton said that somebody recently asked her why she was going to Madison, a place where Sanders is very popular.
“Yeah that’s true, but I’m here because, not only do I want to compete for every vote, I respect the people of Madison and Dane County,” Clinton said. “I want a chance to talk with you and I want you to know where I am coming from with respect to one of the most important issues facing our country.
“As someone who has been fighting for progressive causes her whole life, she added, “I think it’s important that we take a broad view about what’s at stake in this election.”
At stake for this presidential election, Clinton said, was the Supreme Court.
“If we’re serious about fighting for progressive causes, we need to focus on the Court: who sits on it, how we choose them, and how much we let politics — partisan politics — dominate that process,” Clinton said. “And I can’t think of a better place for this discussion than right here in Madison, because these decisions will affect you.”
Clinton singled out GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin for his part in preventing the confirmation of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
“We chose a president. We chose him twice and now Republicans in the Senate are acting like our votes didn’t count,” Clinton said. “Those are not high-minded principles — those are low-minded politics.”
Clinton said that in a single term, the Supreme Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement.
“And as someone who has worked on every single one of these issues for decades, I see this as a make-or-break moment,” Clinton said. “If you care about the fairness of elections, the future of unions, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, you should care about who wins the presidency and appoints the next Supreme Court justices.”
Clinton said that it was scary to think about what kind of justices, attorney general, or lower court judges President Donald Trump appoint.
“And as you know, he believes Muslims should be banned from entering this country because of their faith,” she said. “What would that mean for a nation founded on religious freedom? He wants to round up 11 million immigrants and kick them out. What would that mean for a nation built by immigrants?
“He says wages for working people are too high and we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage,” she added. “What would that mean for working people, and a Court that’s already tilting in favor of powerful corporations?”
Clinton implored the crowd to think hard during this upcoming election about the Supreme Court.
“This election has ripped away the curtain and made it absolutely clear to everyone how essential the Supreme Court is to those decisions, as well,” she said. “I will keep talking about it, and advocating, and calling on the Senate to do its job, and I hope there will be a great chorus of voices across our land that will do the same.
“It’s our Constitution, it’s our Court, and it’s our future,” she added.