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Photo: Steve Harvey (Dominique Johnson/ Al DÍA News)
Photo: Steve Harvey (Dominique Johnson/ Al DÍA News)

PA residents urge Sen. Toomey to act on critical issues

Earlier today, Pennsylvanians gathered outside of Senator Pat Toomey's office ro highlight a variety of issues.

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Earlier today, Pennsylvanians gathered outside of Senator Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia office to highlight a variety of critical issues that included issues facing the United States Supreme Court, women’s health and equality. 

Holding signs that read Fill the Supreme Court Vacancy and The Constitution is clear, members of Organizing For Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.org and others were in attendance urging Sen. Toomey and the Senate "to get back to work to serving the people."

“I need to talk to you about a very important subject that relates to the governing of our country and our law and the proper functioning of our legal system which was started here in Philadelphia, as we all know,” Steve Harvey, trial lawyer and counselor for business employment in Philadelphia, said. “We know a little bit about it and we’re very much in favor of our laws and legal system, beginning with our constitution which is extremely clear about the process to appoint the next supreme court justice.”

The Senate must advise, consent and do their jobs, added Harvey to cheering and applauding crowd. 

Toomey, who is running for a second term, backed Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in arguing that a nominee for Justice Antonin Scalia's seat is best left to the next president. That stance brought criticism from Democrats. 

"I think the question before us now is ... should the outgoing president fundamentally change the balance of the court for the next one or two generations?" Toomey said in an interview with NBC 10. "I don't think that's reasonable. I think that it's more reasonable for the American people to have a more direct say in that process, which they will do through the election of the president knowing now with certainty that the next president is going to make this really important pick."

If President Obama selects a nominee, Toomey would oppose the choice.

“Our system depends on it, our economic system, our regulatory system our protection from human rights to civil rights abuses, all depend on this,” Harvey continued. “It’s a matter of utmost importance contrary to what Senator Toomey’s suggestion and to those who put this off, it’s a very very big deal.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently interpreted federal law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in limited circumstances, but even those protections are facing court challenges that could reach the Supreme Court. 

Ernest Owens, board member of Equality Pennsylvania, demanded action from Toomey and others to start addressing the issues that continue to affect the LGBTQ community. 

“I am here to tell you all that we need to tell Pat Toomey to do his damn job,” Owens said. “After marriage equality, there were many issues that impacted the LGBTQ community. It’s very important to understand that after the supreme court gave us a great ruling on marriage equality nationwide that those issues did not stop for us. People can get married on Saturday and go to work on Monday morning and get fired. They cannot get housing, they can lose their businesses and their jobs because we do not have a national, federal and state level law that protects LGBTQ individuals from housing discrimination, job discrimination and other issues outside of marriage.”

According to a public policy poll, voters would like Sen. Toomey to evaluate a nominee on their merits.  The poll found that 57 percent of Pennsylvanians are focused on the Senator executing the constitutional responsibility of his office. 

"Whether it is climate change or equality or workers rights or you name it, the court is a key part of our democracy and we need the senator to follow his constitutionally designated responsibility,” Adam Garber, Pennenvironment Field Director, said. 

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