Skip to comments.Democrats Thought it was Improper to Filibuster Judicial Nominees
Posted on 05/19/2005 8:17:55 AM PDT by Peach
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) March 19, 1997: But I also respectfully suggest that everyone who is nominated is entitled to have a shot, to have a hearing and to have a shot to be heard on the floor and have a vote on the floor.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)September 28, 1998: We should meet our responsibility. I think that responsibility requires us to act in a timely fashion on nominees sent before us. ... Vote the person up or down.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) September 11, 1997: Lets bring their nominations up, debate them if necessary, and vote them up or down.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)February 3, 1998: We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote. If our Republican colleagues dont like them, vote against them. But give them a vote.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) May 10, 2000: The Founding Fathers certainly intended that the Senate advise as to judicial nominations, i.e., consider, debate, and vote up or down. They surely did not intend that the Senate, for partisan or factional reasons, would remain silent and simply refuse to give any advice or consider and vote at all.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 5/14/97 : It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor.
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD): I find it simply baffling that a Senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination. (Congressional Record, 10/5/99)
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD): Hispanic or non-Hispanic, African American or non-African American, woman or man, it is wrong not to have a vote on the Senate floor. (Congressional Record, 10/28/99)
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND): My expectation is that were not going to hold up judicial nominations. You will not see us do what was done to us in recent years in the Senate with judicial nominations. (Fox News Special Report With Brit Hume, 6/4/01)
Richard Durbin (D-IL) "If, after 150 days languishing on the Executive Calendar that name has not been called for a vote, it should be. Vote the person up or down." (Cong. Rec., 9/28/98, S11021)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): Lets bring their nominations up, debate them if necessary, and vote them up or down. (Congressional Record, 9/11/97)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): It is our job to confirm these judges. If we dont like them, we can vote against them. (Congressional Record, 9/16/99)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): Our institutional integrity requires an up-or-down vote. (Congressional Record, 10/4/99)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): [The filibuster process] is used as blackmail for one Senator to get his or her way on something that they could not rightfully win through the normal processes. (Congressional Record, 1/4/95)
Tom Harkin (D-IA) "Have the guts to come out and vote up or down .And once and for all, put behind us this filibuster procedure on nominations." (Cong. Rec., 6/22/95, S8861)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): I urge the Republican leadership to take the steps necessary to allow the full Senate to vote up or down on these important nominations. (Congressional Record, 9/11/00)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote. If our Republican colleagues dont like them, vote against them. But give them a vote. (Congressional Record, 2/3/98)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): It is true that some Senators have voiced concerns about these nominations. But that should not prevent a roll call vote which gives every Senator the opportunity to vote yes or no. ... Parties with cases, waiting to be heard by the federal courts deserve a decision by the Senate. (Congressional Record, 9/21/99)
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI): These nominees, who have to put their lives on hold waiting for us to act, deserve an up or down vote. (Congressional Record, 9/21/99)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): I hope we will accept our responsibility and vote people up or vote them down. If we want to vote against them, vote against them. (Congressional Record, 10/22/97)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): Now, every Senator can vote against any nominee. But it is the responsibility of the U.S. Senate to at least bring them to a vote. (Congressional Record, 10/22/97)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "I have stated over and over again that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported (Congressional Record, 6/18/98)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): [E]arlier this year I noted how improper it would be to filibuster a judicial nomination. (Congressional Record, 10/14/98)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): [I]f the person is otherwise qualified, he or she gets the vote. Vote them up, vote them down. (Congressional Record, 9/21/99)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): [W]e should have up-or-down votes in the committee and on the floor. (CNNs Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields, 6/9/01)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): [W]e are charged with voting on the nominees. The Constitution does not say if the Congress is controlled by a different party than the President there shall be no judges chosen. (Congressional Record, 3/7/00)
Carl Levin (D-MI) "If a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate is prepared to vote to confirm the President's appointment, that vote should occur." (Cong. Rec., 6/21/95, S8806)
The question is why aren't the Republican Senators using this material?
Haven't seen any clips of this stuff by any pro Bush judge group. I don't think Fox News has had these clips on the air.
Where is Sean Hannity, doesn't he have years of Fox tape he can use?
Thanks for that link!
An absolutely GREAT list! I'm in the process of e-mailing each liberal senator on the list with a message including his/her own words. Somehow I don't expect to get any responses from any of them.
Sorry for the deluge of PINGs lately. I did try to go easy on the Newsweek threads.
Media Schadenfreude and Media Shenanigans PING
The only problem is, these dolts will not recall, even when confronted with the evidence, that they EVER held a view contrary to the one the now exclaim.
How can they possibly do this? It's quite simple actually, they have mastered:
DOUBLETHINK: the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. ... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one deniesall this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): According to the U.S. Constitution, the President nominates, and the Senate shall provide advice and consent. It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor. (Sen. Barbara Boxer, Congressional Record, 5/14/97, p. S4420)
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD): It is worse than that. It is not whether you let the President have his nominees confirmed. You will not even let them be considered by the Senate for an up-or-down vote. That is the problem today. In other words, the other side will not let the process work so these nominees can come before the Senate for judgment. (Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Congressional Record, 3/19/97, p. S2539)
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE): But I also respectfully suggest that everyone who is nominated is entitled to have a shot, to have a hearing and to have a shot to be heard on the floor and have a vote on the floor. (Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 3/19/97, p. S2540)
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD): "This so-called supermajority is the Senate's filibuster rule. All of America had a good taste of how the filibuster rule worked in the 103d Congress. It brought work to a full stop. It put into the hands of a minority the power to bargain for, hold hostage, blackmail or simply block anything they wanted. The Constitution is straightforward about the few instances in which more than a majority of the Congress must vote: A veto override, a treaty, and a finding of guilt in an impeachment proceeding. Every other action by the Congress is taken by majority vote. The Founders debated the idea of requiring more than a majority to approve legislation. They concluded that putting such immense power into the hands of a minority ran squarely against the democratic principle. Democracy means majority rule, not minority gridlock." (Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, 1/30/95, p. S1748)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): Nominees deserve a vote. The President and the Senate do not always agree. But we should resolve these disagreements by voting on these nominees--yes or no. (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Congressional Record, 1/28/98, p. S85)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): When the Founders wrote the Constitution and gave the Senate the power of advice and consent on Presidential nominations , they never intended the Senate to work against the President, as this Senate is doing, by engaging in a wholesale stall and refusing to act on large numbers of the President's nominees. (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Congressional Record, 9/21/99, S11102)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): They are simply holding up the Presidents appointees because they dont want them to be selected, or they have some other issue and they are trying to hold the nominee hostage. (Sen. Harry Reid, Congressional Record, 4/22/97, p. S3398)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): To delay judicial nominations for months and years and to deny them a vote is wrong. (Sen. Patrick Leahy, Congressional Record, 10/14/98, p. S12578)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): If, after 150 days languishing in a committee there is no report on an individual, the name should come to the floor. If, after 150 days languishing on the Executive Calendar that name has not been called for a vote, it should be. Vote the person up or down. They are qualified or they are not. (Sen. Dick Durbin, Congressional Record, 9/28/98, p. S S11031)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): I also plead with my colleagues to move judges with alacrity--vote them up or down. But this delay makes a mockery of the Constitution, makes a mockery of the fact that we are here working, and makes a mockery of the lives of very sincere people who have put themselves forward to be judges and then they hang out there in limbo. (Sen. Chuck Schumer, Congressional Record, 3/7/00, p. S1211)
Credit a Yahoo poster
Sometimes said as "But that's different"
The motto of the Dem party, and their answer to Every incongruity or U-turn.
If I understand the news reporting on this, the Repubs didn't use or threaten a filibuster with the Clinton appointees, they used a parliamentary tactic of a Senator placing a "hold" on the nominee. Likely the same outcome as the filibuster threat we're seeing now, but not a filibuster, just the same.
"I simply ask the United States Senate to heed this plea, and vote on the highly qualified judicial nominees before you, up or down."-- William Jefferson Clinton - State of the Union address 1998
I would not approve any judges, until the House and Senate repeal Unconstitutional laws.
Then I would publish a list of laws not to be enforced (Prosecutorial disgression guidance) until the judges ranks are back up. Of course that list of laws would be a good starting point for repeal legislation.
You don't want to get me going on this.
When Clinton was President, the GOP controlled the Senate most of the time and thus never had to filibuster. If you are the majority, you control when things come up for a vote. Majority matters.
Great list...shows the dims for the hypocrites that they are.
Let me add this gem of an article:
Time to Retire the Filibuster (NYT 1995)
The U.S. Senate likes to call itself the world's greatest deliberative body. The greatest obstructive body is more like it. In the last season of Congress, the Republican minority invoked an endless string of filibusters to frustrate the will of the majority. This relentless abuse of a time-honored Senate tradition so disgusted Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, that he is now willing to forgo easy retribution and drastically limit the filibuster. Hooray for him.
For years Senate filibusters--when they weren't conjuring up romantic images of Jimmy Stewart as Mr. Smith, passing out from exhaustion on the Senate floor--consisted mainly of negative feats of endurance. Senator Sam Ervin once spoke for 22 hours straight. Outrage over these tactics and their ability to bring Senate business to a halt led to the current so-called two-track system, whereby a senator can hold up one piece of legislation while other business goes on as usual.
The two-track system has been nearly as obstructive as the old rules. Under those rules, if the Senate could not muster the 60 votes necessary to end debate and bring a bill to a vote, someone had to be willing to continue the debate, in person, on the floor. That is no longer required. Even if the 60 votes are not achieved, debate stops and the Senate proceeds with other business. The measure is simply put on hold until the next cloture vote. In this way a bill can be stymied at any number of points along its legislative journey.
One unpleasant and unforeseen consequence has been to make the filibuster easy to invoke and painless to pursue. Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which senators held passionate convictions, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, dooming any measure that cannot command the 60 required votes.
Mr. Harkin, along with Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, now proposes to make such obstruction harder. Mr. Harkin says reasonably that there must come a point in the process where the majority rules. This may not sit well with some of his Democratic colleagues. They are now perfectly positioned to exact revenge by frustrating the Republican agenda as efficiently as Republicans frustrated Democrats in 1994.
Admirably, Mr. Harkin says he does not want to do that. He proposes to change the rules so that if a vote for cloture fails to attract the necessary 60 votes, the number of votes needed to close off debate would be reduced by three in each subsequent vote. By the time the measure came to a fourth vote--with votes occurring no more frequently than every second day--cloture could be invoked with only a simple majority. Under the Harkin plan, minority members who feel passionately about a given measure could still hold it up, but not indefinitely.
Another set of reforms, more incremental but also useful, is proposed by George Mitchell, who is retiring as the Democratic majority leader. He wants to eat away at some of the more annoying kinds of brakes that can be applied to a measure along its legislative journey.
One example is the procedure for sending a measure to a conference committee with the House. Under current rules, unless the Senate consents unanimously to send a measure to conference, three separate motions can be required to move it along. This gives one senator the power to hold up a measure almost indefinitely. Mr. Mitchell would like to reduce the number of motions to one.
He would also like to limit the debate on a motion to two hours and count the time consumed by quorum calls against the debate time of a senator, thus encouraging senators to save their time for debating the substance of a measure rather than in obstruction. All of his suggestions seem reasonable, but his reforms would leave the filibuster essentially intact.
The Harkin plan, along with some of Mr. Mitchell's proposals, would go a long way toward making the Senate a more productive place to conduct the nation's business. Republicans surely dread the kind of obstructionism they themselves practiced during the last Congress. Now is the perfect moment for them to unite with like-minded Democrats to get rid of an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose.
For shame! ;-)