Skip to comments.BREAKING - Dems Successfully Filibuster Bolton in Senate
Posted on 05/26/2005 3:43:28 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket
Bolton fails to get the 60 votes to invoke cloture. Dem filbuster is on.
Without further comment - the record is linked for those who are curious for more ...
SMITH: In 1992, we had a nominee by the name of Edward Carnes. He was nominated to the Eleventh Circuit. There were no fewer than three full votes in the Senate on one nominee: A motion to proceed, followed by a filibuster, a 66-30 cloture vote, and finally, on September 9, 1992, approval--a long process for this one judge. But other than that one nominee who was, in fact, filibustered, there was nothing--no action, no debate, no nothing--on the floor of the Senate. All other controversial nominees were filibustered in committee under the Democrat leadership in the Senate.
Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair.
I hate to ask this to be delayed. But he is a sitting Federal judge. It is not messing up his Federal practice in a couple or three weeks to get to the bottom of this and how the case was assigned, because it didn't come out of an indictment by a grand jury, it came out of the handling by the prosecutor. In my experience, those cases are not randomly assigned. Quite often, they are taken directly by the prosecutor to the judge.
I would like to have somebody under oath explain to me how the Hsia case and the Huang case went to Judge Paez. Out of 34 judges, they went to Judge Paez. That doesn't strike well with me. I would like to know that before we go forward with the vote. If he has a good answer, I am willing to accept it.
I yield the floor.
I have reached this conclusion after having been part of this process for over 20 years now, and having served as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for more than half a decade.
There are times when legislators must, to be effective, demonstrate their mastery of politics. But there are also times when politics-- though available--must be foresworn.
I am reminded of the great quote of Disraeli, which I will now paraphrase--``next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing is knowing when to forego an advantage.'' I hope my colleagues will forego the perceived advantage of a filibuster.
Simply put, there are certain areas that must be designated as off- limits from political activity. Statesmanship demands as much. The Senate's solemn role in confirming lifetime-appointed Article III judges--and the underlying principle that the Senate performs that role through the majority vote of its members--are such issues. Nothing less depends on the recognition of these principles than the continued, untarnished respect in which we hold our third branch of Government.
On the basis of this principle, I have always tried to be fair, no matter the President of the United States or the nominees. Even when I have opposed a nominee of the current President, I have voted for cloture to stop a filibuster of that nominee. That was the case with the nomination of Lee Sarokin.
To be sure, this body has on occasion engaged in the dubious practice of filibusters of judicial nominees. But such episodes have been infrequent and, I shall add, unfortunate.
During a number of occasions in the Reagan and Bush Administrations, my colleagues on the other side engaged in filibusters of judicial nominees. Frequently, they backed off, ostensibly realizing there were enough votes to stop a filibuster.
And just last year, I watched with sadness as the minority made history by filibustering one of its own party's nominees. Forcing a cloture vote on Clinton nominee Ted Stewart--who is now acquitting himself superbly as a district judge in Utah--reflected nothing more than a political gambit to force action on other judicial nominees. Fortunately, the effects of that filibuster were short-lived, as the minority recognized the errors of its ways.
The result was announced, yeas 85, nays 14, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 37 Ex.]
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Smith of Oregon). On this vote, the yeas are 85, the nays are 14. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, is the Senator from Vermont correct that we have now voted cloture on both the nominations before the Senate?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont is correct.
Mr. LEAHY. Then what is the parliamentary situation, as regarding the two nominations?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There are 30 hours, evenly divided.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I have a unanimous consent request and closing script.
As you know, cloture was just invoked on two Ninth Circuit judges. I still hope we have not set a precedent. I don't believe we have because it was such an overwhelming vote to invoke cloture and stop the filibuster. We should not be having filibusters on judicial nominations and having to move to cloture. But we had to, and it was an overwhelming vote of 86-13 on the first one, and I guess that was the vote on the second one, too. I intend to offer a time agreement between the proponents and opponents regarding postcloture debate.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Smith of New Hampshire be in control of up to 3 hours of total debate on both nominations, and that Senator Leahy, or his designee, be in control of up to 1 hour 30 minutes of total debate on both nominations; that following the conclusion or yielding back of the time, the Senate lay the nominations aside until 2 p.m., at which time the Senate would proceed to back-to-back votes on or in relation to the confirmations of Berzon and Paez. That would be at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Mr. LEAHY. Reserving the right to object, and I will not, I tell the distinguished leader I was struck by the comments of the distinguished leader in saying we should not have the precedents of filibusters and requiring cloture. I commend him for supporting the cloture motion and moving this forward so we would not have that precedent. I am concerned, though, because I have heard rumors that one of these votes may be on a motion to indefinitely postpone a vote on these nominees. I understand that while such a vote might be in order, there is no precedent for such a vote on a judicial nominee; am I correct on that? I mean in my lifetime, and I was born in 1940.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is a precedent that a motion to postpone is in order after cloture is invoked.
Mr. LEAHY. That was not my question, Mr. President. My question was very specific. In fact, I stated that I understand motions to postpone indefinitely, I believe, are always in order, as are filibusters. But as the distinguished leader said, we would not want to set a precedent of filibusters on judicial nominations. Am I correct that we have not used motions to postpone indefinitely on judicial nominations following cloture?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The precedent does not state what the item of cloture is on.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, if I understand, we have never had this circumstance. Certainly, I have not in my 25 years in the Senate. I do not believe ever having a circumstance where we have had cloture on two judicial nominations and then had a motion to postpone, in effect, killing the nominations.
Mr. LOTT. Will the Senator yield?
Mr. LEAHY. Yes.
Mr. LOTT. I believe, traditionally, it is in order postcloture to have a motion to table or a motion to postpone indefinitely. I don't know the precedents in terms of that actually having been used. I am certainly not advocating it. But under the rules of the Senate, I am under the impression that it would be in order. I thought maybe I could answer it succinctly without getting into the precedents.
Mr. President, has the request been----
Mrs. BOXER. Reserving the right to object, and I will not object, I say, first, to the majority leader that I appreciate very much his effort to bring the nominations forward, and voting for cloture, because without that we would not be where we are. I want that understood.
I state on the Record today that this Senator believes if there is going to be a motion made--which there very well may be because that is the rumor that I hear--to indefinitely postpone a vote on one of these nominees, then I believe that kind of a motion is denying that nominee an up-or-down vote. You can argue that it is really like an up-or-down vote, but after we have gotten over 80 votes, with the help of the majority leader and Senator Hatch, in a bipartisan way--and Senator Leahy worked on that--you would think we could vote up or down. There is no precedent that I have gotten from the Parliamentarian up to this point where he has been able to show me this was done with a judicial nomination after cloture was invoked. I wish to make that point because I don't like to ever blindside my colleagues on anything.
I think that if we go this route, it will be interpreted as a way to deny a vote on the nominee, and I hope this will not be the case. Surely, I hope, if it is offered, we will defeat it. But it seems to me a bad precedent. I hope we won't see this go in that fashion. I thank the Chair. I shall not object.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. LOTT. Then the votes will occur back to back at 2 p.m. on Thursday. In light of this agreement, there will be no further votes this evening. I believe our staffs have probably put everybody on notice of that.
Click here -> Senate - March 8, 2000
Navigate to -> 42. EXECUTIVE SESSION -- (Senate - March 08, 2000)
Page S1301 - March 8, 2000 (also contains the cloture votes)
Page S1302 - March 8, 2000 (also contains the cloture votes)
That would be such a twisting of what cloture really means in these cases. It has never been done before for a judge, as far as we know-- ever. Again, it would undermine what Senator Lott said when he said these people deserve an up-or-down vote.
So I make a plea to my friend, Senator Smith. He and I go at it on many issues, but we are good friends and we like each other. Consider what you would do if you were to make such a motion, or another Senator would do so. You would be saying these two people do not deserve an up- or-down vote. I think that would be an undermining of the spirit of what we did yesterday.
I hope we will not go that route. What goes around comes around. Then, when you have a President who sends down a nominee, you are setting your party's President up for this kind of twisting in the wind that I do not think any nominee ought to go through.
I thank my friends for their indulgence. I believe very deeply we have two mainstream, strong candidates, supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, both inside the Senate and outside the Senate. We have two people who have proven their mettle. I thank them for hanging in there. I know there were times when they wondered whether it was worth it; that they had to look at their families one more time and say, ``We don't know yet. We don't know yet. We don't know when we are getting a vote.'' That is why I brought their pictures to the floor the last couple of days, to put a face on these nominees. They have children. They have spouses. They have community friends. They work hard. Their lives have essentially been in limbo--for Marsha for a couple of years.
Motion To Indefinitely Postpone
Mr. President, I move, in a postcloture environment, to postpone indefinitely the nomination of Richard Paez in order for this body to get the answers I believe every Senator deserves with regard to the concerns I have raised about Judge Paez over the last several days. It is not in order for me to move to postpone to a time certain, according to our parliamentary and Senate rules, or I would do so.
Personally, I think 3 weeks, unless there is some complication, would be more than enough time to have a good hearing. I am willing to vote; if he is confirmed, fine. If he has good answers for all this, fine.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion is debatable.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the motion.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
There is not a sufficient second at the moment.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
There appears to be a sufficient second.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair, and I thank the Senator from Vermont, the distinguished ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who has always played a big role in these issues and is an outstanding advocate. If I ever got into trouble, I would like him to represent me.
I think that is what we should do. That is the purpose of my motion. In a prompt evaluation of this matter, the public and this country are entitled to know about it, because, remember, once that confirmation is concluded, there is absolutely no other action this or any other body in the United States can take against any judge--in this case, Judge Paez--short of impeaching him for a criminal act.
We ought to consider that and take our time here in a few more weeks to settle this matter. We will feel better about ourselves. Perhaps the judge will have an answer. He certainly has a number of friends. He has a good family.
The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Marsha L. Berzon, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit?
Mr. SESSIONS addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, a point of order.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will state the point of order.
Mr. SESSIONS. I understand the Vice President is in the Chamber. Under the Senate rules, a person who has a personal conflict of interest in a vote is not allowed to vote. I make a parliamentary inquiry----
Mr. LEAHY. Regular order.
Mr. SESSIONS. As to whether or not the Vice President should be required to recuse himself under these circumstances on the vote.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The right of the Vice President is in the Constitution. The question is on confirmation of the nominations.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, may the Vice President exercise his discretion and recuse himself?
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, regular order.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Debate is not in order. The yeas and nays have been ordered, and the clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) and the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Campbell) are necessarily absent.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 64, nays 34, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 38 Ex.]
The legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) and the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Campbell) are necessarily absent. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber who desire to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 31, nays 67, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 39 Ex.]
There is a sufficient second.
The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Richard A. Paez, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit? The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Campbell) and the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) are necessarily absent.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber who desire to vote?
The result was announced, yeas 59, nays 39, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 40 Ex.]
The information relates to the 66th Congress, 1st session, and is in Volume 58 of the Congressional Record.
I assume the cloture motion was filed on November 15, 1919 and voted on at a later date - sometime before the treaty was voted on, November 19, 1919.
I find it interesting that the FIRST use of Rule XXII (cloture) was on a treaty. I'm curious if the objective of cloture was to kill the treaty, or if additional debate was desired. I think, given the posture of the adversaries, that the proponents of the treaty did not want to get to the vote, since they were going to lose it. The proponents of the treaty LOST anyway. It was the opponents of the treaty who invoked cloture.
The Senate voted to invoke cloture for the first time on November 15, 1919, while considering The Treaty of Versailles. The cloture motion passed with the 67% majority required at the time. The Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles on November 19, 1919, first rejecting Senator Lodge's resolution of ratification, which included fourteen reservations to the treaty, on a 39-55 vote. The Senate then rejected a resolution to approve the treaty without reservations of any kind, on a 38-53 vote.
Record, 66 Cong., I Sess., pp. 8777-8784 - Nov 18, 1919.
Thank you for your research. FReepMail coming soon.
I'll be mulling this over - I most interested because of the dates of the actions you posted.
I wouldn't follow those doofuses to McDonald's at lunchtime.
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I know how sickening it is to continually see your team making all the right moves... except when it really matters. Unfortunately, my team in the House and Senate has done exactly the same thing as my team on the field; talk a great game, then choke when the other team takes it to the mat.
Yes, the Sox won the World Series last year. However, I don't want to wait another century to see them do it. Likewise, I don't want to keep waiting and hoping that these gutless bastards in the senate, whom I helped elect, will eventually do the right thing. It is costing this country way too much. I'll be fighting, with my vote and my donations, to get the Gang of Seven and several others out of office and replace them with someone who will do what is right for this country.
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