A group of Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists said Tuesday the open U.S. Supreme Court seat President Donald Trump plans to fill is a "stolen" one.
Trump is set to announce his pick to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in an announcement from the White House Tuesday evening.
The seat has been vacant for nearly a year, after Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's nominee.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle made the vacancy a key issue in the 2016 campaign. Democrats argued Republicans weren't doing their jobs by blocking hearings, while Republicans argued the seat should be filled by the next president.
The liberal group One Wisconsin Now pushed often over the last year for Republicans to consider Garland's nomination. OWN executive director Scot Ross said Tuesday there are issues within Trump's administration that must be resolved before his Supreme Court nominee is considered.
"His lack of commitment and lack of compliance with the Constitution warrants a hold on this appointment," Ross said at a press conference Tuesday, citing the president's recent executive order on immigration and the subsequent firing of the acting attorney general who refused to defend it.
The order indefinitely bans admission to the U.S. of Syrian refugees, bars for 120 days all other refugee admissions and prevents citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days.
"Nominating a justice to the Supreme Court who shares this administration’s shameful and discriminatory views on immigration is reckless," said Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee. "This is the United States of America. We’re better than this."
Perceived by some as a religious test amounting to a "Muslim ban," the immigration order has provoked widespread criticism from Democrats, business leaders, academics and some Republicans. Others, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have praised it as a necessary national security measure.
Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, voiced concerns that a Trump nominee would support rolling back protections for LGBT rights, and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin director of government relations Nicole Safar said a Trump nominee would likely support efforts to limit access to, or entirely outlaw, abortion. Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said Trump's comments about voter fraud raise concerns that his nominee may support efforts to restrict voting rights.
Meanwhile, Republicans are already seizing on expected Democratic opposition to Trump's nominee as they gear up for 2018 electoral fights.
"After Senator Baldwin lectured (voters) over the last year on the importance of a full Supreme Court, Wisconsinites deserve to know that Senator Baldwin will stand by her past statements and swiftly confirm the President’s nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court," a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin said in an email to reporters on Tuesday.