February 5, 2003
The United States Senate Minority Leader (that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) Tom Daschle (D-SD) recently said that Senate Democrats “intend to do in the 108th Congress exactly what we did in the 107th Congress.”
If this is true, then I guess the American people should expect to see President Bush's judicial nominations hijacked by the Democrats in the 2003 legislative session just like they were in the past two years. With over 100 seats on the federal bench still vacant, this makes Senate Democrats judicial obstructionists!
Now, the winds of political change are blowing in the direction of Republicans.
The Democrats are in for a much tougher fight this time around. Thanks to the unprecedented and historic 2002 elections, the 108th Congress is dramatically different from the 107th Congress. With Republicans in control of the United States Senate, look for President Bush to go on the major offensive with his judicial nominations. The time has come for Republicans to wield their newfound power given to them by the voters and defeat the Democratic agenda in the Senate! This begins with the judicial nominations.
Wasting no time on the opening day of the new legislative session, President Bush immediately renominated all 31 of his judicial picks that were impeded by Tom Daschle's willing accomplices in the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee the past two years. Three of the biggest names that are now back on the table include Judge Charles Pickering, Justice Pricilla Owen and attorney Miguel Estrada.
Owen and Pickering were both rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee last session because liberal Democrats falsely painted Owen as a radical pro-life activist and Pickering as an insensitive bigot.
The first chance for President Bush to call the Democrat’s bluff on his judicial nominations, though, happens TODAY with a vote in the Senate on the Estrada nomination. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 along party lines (Republicans voted in favor, Democrats voted against) last week to bring the historic nomination of Miguel Estrada to the full Senate for confirmation at 2:15pm EST today.
Miguel Estrada is nothing less than an American success story. He immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager speaking virtually no English. He later went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and Columbia College. He has argued 15 cases (and won 10 of them!) before the U.S. Supreme Court. If his nomination is confirmed today, then he would become the first Hispanic judge on the DC Court of Appeals.
On May 9, 2001, Estrada’s first nomination was obstructed and blocked by the Democrats and eventually killed in the Democrat-led committee. Now that Republicans control the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democrats say they need more time to consider this nomination and have threatened to filibuster Estrada during debate on the Senate floor.
Even the liberal-leaning American Bar Association describes Estrada as “well-qualified.” Nevertheless, Senate Democrats contend that Estrada is “too conservative.” Wake up, Democrats! America has rejected the core beliefs of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. It is time for you people to come out from under your rock and realize that the majority of the American people now consider themselves “conservative!”
However, don’t expect Senate Democrats to roll over and play dead on these judicial nominations. Kate Michelman, president of the ultra-liberal pro-abortion lobbyist group NARAL, has pressured Senate Democrats to filibuster ALL of President Bush’s nominees. Read the shocking letter she wrote about Estrada’s nomination last week.
This call to filibuster judicial nominees is unusual given the grand tradition of the United States Senate. Left-wing zealots Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have threatened to use this parliamentary procedure to block any and all conservative judicial nominees beginning with Estrada today. We will have to see if this is more rhetoric from the Democrats or if they will actually attempt to hijack these judicial nominations.
Here’s a message for Senate Democrats: it’s time to put up or shut up!
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation has noted that since the mid-70s, the United States Senate has not had a real filibuster. The Family Research Council says that the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes to end a filibuster. Until the early 80s, filibusters were rare. Senators actually had to continuously speak to block action on pending legislation.
Since it is very difficult to speak substantively for very long on any one subject (even for long-winded blow hard liberal Democrats), Senators often resorted to reading newspapers, reciting names from phone books, reading poetry or other foolishness. Unless a Senator could convince others to join his filibuster and keep the "debate" rolling, the speaker usually ran out of gas and a vote was finally held.
Yet, in the 80s, the Republicans and Democrats struck a "gentleman's agreement" to suspend the original definition of a filibuster. Because of that agreement, it is now only required that a Senator inform the majority leader -- currently Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) -- of his intention to filibuster and a vote on legislation is suspended unless 60 senators agree to cut off the presumed "debate." This unconscionable action allows one Senator the power to block a vote on ANY legislation.
THIS PRACTICE IS WRONG AND SHOULD COME TO AN END IMMEDIATELY!
Majority Leader Frist has the perfect opportunity to make the Democrats look like the fools they are by requiring them to conduct a real filibuster. He should announce that any Senator who threatens to filibuster any of the judicial nominations will be required to go to the floor of the Senate and actually speak. This will force the liberals to honestly defend their position on their opposition to the judicial nominees. The likelihood of a successful filibuster under this scenario is highly unlikely.
Even better is the political impact of a filibuster threat by the Democrats. What would most Americans think if they saw a Senator on C-SPAN reading from the phone book for several hours just to stop the Senate from voting on a Bush judicial nominee? This is a win-win situation for the Republicans.
The American people have already begun to realize that liberals are obstructionists as evidenced by their overwhelming support for conservative Republican candidates in the 2002 elections. There will be enormous pressure on crybaby Tom Daschle to abandon the doomed-to-fail filibuster strategy. If extremist Democrats, who take their marching orders from groups like NARAL, are determined to filibuster President Bush's nominees, then Majority Leader Frist should compel them to speak. It’s time to watch the Democrats open mouth, insert foot!
There is still time to contact the Republicans in the Senate to let them know where you stand on President Bush’s judicial nominations. The “gentleman’s agreement” of the 80s must end now and Tom Daschle and his liberal sidekicks should be exposed for the judicial obstructionists they are!
It is very likely that all 51 Republican Senators and conservative Georgia Democrat Zell Miller will vote to confirm Miguel Estrada today if the filibuster by the liberals is broken. Republicans only need 8 additional votes from any of these 13 Democrats to get the sixty votes they need to end the debate:
Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) 202-224-2353
Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) 202-224-4041
Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) 202-224-5623
Senator John Breaux (D-LA) **2-6-03 - Will end filibuster**
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) 202-224-2651
Senator Ben Nelson (D-FL) 202-224-6551
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 202-224-5521
Senator John Edwards (D-NC) 202-224-3154
Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) 202-224-2043
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551
Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) 202-224-6121
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
Let your voice be heard on this issue today! Contact these key Senators, including our very own lovable liberal Ernest Fritz Hollings, and let them know how you feel about the Estrada nomination. This will be the first of many fights we can expect to see over Bush’s judicial nominations in the Senate this year. The result of today’s vote will be crucial in determining how the other judicial nominations will do in 2003.