Sen. Tom Carper released a statement June 28 regarding the vacancy on the Supreme Court after the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire.

“To say this is the most important Supreme Court vacancy of my lifetime is an understatement. The next Supreme Court justice will be the ‘swing vote’ on reproductive rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, LGBT rights and countless other rights that we all hold dear and that impact every single American. The next Supreme Court justice may very well decide the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, as well as which Americans have access to health care and the voting booth. The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that will affect our democracy, our economy and our environment for generations,” said Carper.

“Under normal circumstances, I would hope for a well-qualified nominee — someone respected by both sides of the aisle, someone with unimpeachable integrity, someone from the political and judicial mainstream, committed to upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans. But these are not normal circumstances. We can’t forget that President Obama nominated such an individual — Judge Merrick Garland — to the Supreme Court in 2016. Judge Garland was denied a hearing and a vote, and many of my Republican colleagues refused to even meet with him. I will never forget how Judge Garland was treated. Neither should the American people. It was absolutely shameful,” said Carper.

“When President Obama nominated Judge Garland in March, Leader McConnell announced a yearlong blockade until after the election in order to ‘give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.’ When we talk about the Supreme Court, we often talk about precedent. Sen. McConnell willingly chose to set a new precedent with his partisan blockade of Merrick Garland. If we are still operating under the McConnell Standard, and because we are even closer to an election now than we were in the Garland case, the Senate should wait until after the outcome of the November election before considering any nominee to fill this vacancy. Therefore, I am not prepared to move forward on any nominee to fill this lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court until the American people have had their say in November,” said Carper.