92 Empty Chairs Delivered to U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Nashua Office to Symbolize Unprecedented GOP Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Media contacts:
Zandra Rice Hawkins, zandra@granitestateprogress.org
Linds Jakows, ljakows@pfaw.org

92 Empty Chairs Delivered to U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Nashua Office to Symbolize Unprecedented GOP Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

NASHUA, NH – Constituents delivered 92 empty chairs to U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Nashua district today to symbolize the seats on the federal courts left vacant by Republican obstruction of the President’s judicial nominees.  Today is the first day of oral arguments for the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court and, for the first time, an individual’s nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has spanned two terms of the Court. Overall, there are 92 federal court vacancies due to Senate obstructionism.

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“Senate Republicans have blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination for 202 days, building on years of obstruction on judicial nominations. There are way too many empty chairs on our federal courts: 92 overall.  And when courts don’t have their full complement of justices, they can’t do the job they’re supposed to do of protecting our rights and freedoms,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way. “It’s a real crisis and we’re fed up with the Republican partisanship in the Senate that led to this mess. We’re delivering 92 chairs to Senator Ayotte with the message to do your job and fill the vacancies.”

The delivery took place as part of a nationwide Day of Action to call attention to the nearly one hundred unfilled vacancies on the federal courts.  Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at the US Supreme Court today to highlight the unconscionable delay on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

“The federal courts have a huge impact on our daily lives. If you care about civil liberties, clean air, privacy, reproductive rights, social justice, corporate accountability, equality, and fairness, then you care about our federal courts,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Senator Ayotte needs to stop playing politics with our judicial system. We depend on the courts to protect our Constitutional rights and they need to remain strong and staffed to do so.”

The Why Courts Matter New Hampshire coalition – including Granite State Progress, People For the American Way, and Alliance for Justice – delivered the 92 chairs to Ayotte’s office with a message to #DoYourJob and move forward on the nominations that partisan Republicans in the Senate have blocked.


Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.