In conversations with victims, I am often asked, Why is this case going to trial? With this question, victims are expressing surprise that even though the people who injured them are clearly guilty — certainly in their eyes — they still get to follow the same innocent-until-proven-guilty criminal justice process.

My response? Process matters.

The framers of our Constitution knew this. The drafters of the Bill of Rights knew this. Agreeing on a process that we all recognize as fair enables us to accept outcomes with which we disagree. With a government for the people and by the people, process matters. Sometimes defendants are found not guilty and victims are devastated, but they agree and accept that the process was fair.

The 2017 change for selecting Supreme Court justices destroys the process upon which we have all come to rely. Every person sitting on the Supreme Court was chosen by the same process until 2017. In 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch. That is when the Republicans in the Senate used what is called the “nuclear option” and changed the process from needing 60 votes (to overcome a filibuster) to a simple majority. This matters because only a centrist who reflects the views of the majority of Americans could receive 60 votes. Changing the process produces an illegitimate result in the eyes of the majority of the American people. And now, it is about to happen a second time.

Wait, I hear in response. Didn’t Democrats change the process in 2013 for cabinet appointments and lower federal judges?

Yes. That was wrong, too. Democrats and Republicans should be forced to work together. They should not be voting for a change to the filibuster rule that makes it possible for them to stop talking to each other. They should not be voting for a change to process that makes it possible to ignore each other. This is not the America that I know and love here in the state of Maine.

In my state, my Republican friends are my frequent dinner guests. In my state, Republicans and Democrats send their kids to school together, go to church together, work together, shop at the grocery store together, and serve on jury duty together. We talk to each other.

Mainers reject the idea that Republicans and Democrats cannot talk to each other. Mainers reject all the excuses being made for why the nuclear option is necessary. It is not. Work together. Find a Supreme Court nominee who can garner 60 votes. A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court — an institution with no oversight — needs to be validated with a super-majority vote. A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is even more important than a Cabinet appointment or a lower court judge. Wanting to punish Democrats for a change in 2013 is not a reason to punish America with a new process that does not reflect the values of the majority.

Throwing out the process for Supreme Court nominees and creating a new process for President Trump’s nominations will delegitimize the American institution that I have always held in the highest regard: the United States Supreme Court. When a new process is created to push through Supreme Court nominations, how can the citizens of the United States ever respect their decisions again?

In a democracy, confidence in the fairness of our institutions matters. Even when we know someone is guilty, the person still gets the same fair and unbiased process as everyone else. Process matters. Senators should pledge to only vote for a Supreme Court nominee that follows the same process as the Supreme Court Justices currently sitting who were confirmed with at least sixty votes. Changing the process produces an illegitimate result in the eyes of the American people.

Sen. Susan Collins, who holds a key vote in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, prides herself in being a centrist and working across the aisle. Why then would she choose to participate in a process that inserts politics into the highest court in our nation?

Our country and our state are counting on Sen. Collins. I ask her to please vote for civility. Please vote to keep the 60-vote confirmation process for nominations to the Supreme Court by only voting for nominees who can garner 60 votes.

Maeghan Maloney, a Democrat, is district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties.

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