The filibuster has a long history, but the Democrats are abusing it in their current maneuvering in the Senate a small handful of minority party senators are blocking the will of the majority; they are using their personal ideology to grind democracy to a halt.
The Democratic senators don’t seem to realize that “to the victor go the spoils” and that the losing party is not in control. Sadly, some of the winning Republicans haven’t yet realized, either, that the winning team (that’s the key word) gets to call the shots.
Several of President Bush’s nominees for federal appeals and district courts have been waiting for FOUR YEARS for their nominations to have a vote in the Senate. These are distinguished Americans Janice Rogers Brown got 76 percent of the vote on her election to the California Supreme Court.
To further compound the tragedy, those holding up the proceedings are not even in the areas where the judges are to be assigned. This is a matter of fairness; this is a matter of principle. This is a matter of constitutional authority the president’s nominees ought to be voted up or down.
What’s the hold up? The targeted judges believe the Constitution means what it says, not what they reinterpret it to mean, so they are being held hostage under a fraudulent filibuster.
Why is the filibuster fraudulent? The minority argues that they are doing nothing unusual they throw out numbers claiming that other presidents have had votes on their nominees held up. Sorry, that won’t wash. The past three presidents, too, nominated 11 appeals court nominees and they were confirmed in an average of just over 80 days. President Bush’s nominees are still unconfirmed three haven’t even had a vote up or down after nearly 1,500 days.
The Democrats also claim patriotism and democracy motivates their filibuster. They say they are preventing one-party rule by not “rubberstamping” the president’s judicial nominations. Again, they lost the presidential election. Again, they lost majority status. Again, they are the ones who are filibustering judicial nominees with bipartisan support for the first time in Senate history! Their appropriate role regarding “checks and balances” is to present their arguments before the whole Senate and vote the nominees up or down.
The Democrats are using the filibuster for character assassination. President Bush’s nominees are being labeled “extremists,” yet all have the liberal American Bar Association’s well-qualified rating. Insiders consider this the “gold standard” for judges, and all have outstanding records in their state courts. Any claim of extremism is demagoguery. It is also an attack on religious freedom because Democrats are describing them derogatorily as “religious right” or “far right” though all hold traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and values, which are solidly mainstream in America.
The Democrats are getting their greatest traction by claiming that the Republicans are just placating their conservative base by nominating extremist candidates. They’ve been singing that song for more than five years now the refrain is getting old and the obviously political arguments are getting more than tiresome.
Today’s filibuster is fraudulent for another reason as well: They present the filibuster as a lofty matter of precedent and principle, yet those who are using it have, in the past, called filibusters a “partisan tool” and those who used it were labeled “sore losers.”
Let’s be clear about exactly what is happening: The Democrats are blocking President Bush’s nominees for the judiciary by defeating cloture votes an unprecedented action that negates constitutional provisions for an up or down vote on nominees. That’s ratcheting the culture war up to new levels and making up new rules of battle for judicial nominations.
They can wrap the package in fallacious rhetoric and conduct a fraudulent filibuster, but the truth is unequivocal: They are trashing 214 years of Senate tradition. Worse, there are nearly 50 empty judges’ chambers and more than a dozen emergency judicial vacancies. It is past time to get those up or down votes on the president’s nominees. It’s a matter of duty and responsibility, and the voting public will hold senators accountable.