Central PA's LGBT News Source

Tuesdays with Toomey

Meeting every Tuesday with the Senator

Posted

In a wave of progressive activism taking place during the Trump era, Tuesdays with Toomey has been one local group achieving consistent visibility. Fighting for LGBT issues is among their concerns.

The group identifies, according to its web site, as a “Bipartisan, grassroots group who meets with Sen. Toomey every Tuesday to discuss our concerns.” Here’s the local lineage of the organization – Tuesdays with Toomey is a group affiliated with Why Courts Matter – PA, which is affiliated with the national progressive research and advocacy organization known as Center for American Progress.

The group that is active locally was started by Philadelphia activists who were frustrated by Sen. Toomey’s lack of town hall meetings. In Harrisburg, they’ve gathered regularly on the steps of the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, and they can be found across the state at Sen. Toomey’s offices with local activists and supportive organizations.

Kadida Kenner serves as the campaign director for Why Courts Matter - PA.

One of Why Courts Matter’s primary goals is to educate the public on the significance of court vacancies. On the website whycourtsmatterpa.org, they point out that in 2018, “more than 195 million people — over 60 percent of the U.S. population — lived in a community with a federal courtroom vacancy,” with Pennsylvania as the state with the second most vacancies. To help quantify the impact this has on Pennsylvanians’ access to the courts, “there are nearly 17,000 civil and criminal cases pending in Pennsylvania District Courts, and more than 2,000 cases pending in the Circuit Court.”

Why Courts Matter’s website includes infographics demonstrating the role of the court system on issues ranging from religious liberties to money in politics to voting rights. While each of these issues is relevant to LGBT people, there is also an LGBT Equality page that emphasizes the role the courts have played in protecting our rights even while legislators have passed discriminatory, harmful laws.

While the recent elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court caught the attention of many communities who see the court as moving in a direction toward harming already vulnerable communities, progressives would be well-served to remember the importance of filling the many vacancies up and down the court systems with qualified judges, who can make decisions that impact our lives in the short and long terms.

Background

Why Courts Matter - PA is a non-partisan, non-profit (c)(3) organization and coalition of more than 40 organizational partners, representing tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians, who work together to educate the public about the importance of filling federal court vacancies with fair, independent, qualified judges of diverse personal and professional backgrounds.