Say it ain't so, Senator Graham
May 25, 2005
USC Republican Law Society
Press Release, For Immediate Release, May 24, 2005
For more information, contact Todd Kincannon at [email protected] or
The Republican Law Society of the University of South Carolina announces the adoption of a resolution condemning the cooperation of Senator Lindsey Graham with the "Gang of Seven" Republican Senators who have joined with the obstructionist Democrat minority to continue to deny President Bush's nominees fair up-or-down votes in the United States Senate. We deeply regret criticizing Senator Graham, but as members of the legal community we believe it is critical that the Senate fulfill its Constitutional obligation to give judicial nominees fair up-or-down votes.
The application of the filibuster rule to executive nominations is plainly unconstitutional. When the Framers of the United States Constitution wanted an action to require more than a majority vote, they said so. An example is the process for amending the Constitution, where the Constitution explicitly requires a two-thirds vote of each House of Congress. The Constitution contains no supermajority requirement for the approval of executive nominations.
In Ballin v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court rightly held that neither House of
Congress may adopt or apply a rule that violates the U.S. Constitution. The Senate of the United States therefore violates the Constitution every single time it requires 60 votes instead of 51 votes to confirm a judge. Just as the Senate could not adopt a rule stating that an amendment to the Constitution required a unanimous vote for passage where the Constitution requires only a two-thirds vote, neither can the Senate adopt a rule requiring 60 votes to approve a judicial nomination when the Constitution plainly requires only 51 votes.
The filibuster has an embarrassing history of use by obstructionist minorities, most notably Senate minorities favoring racial segregation. We strongly disagree with Senator Graham?s support of Democratic obstructionism. It is our hope that Senator Graham will reconsider his unfortunate decision to stand with President Bush's opponents to deny honorable, capable members of the legal community fair up-or-down votes on their judicial nominations.
The full text of the resolution adopted by the USC Republican Law Society follows.
Whereas, The Republican Law Society of the University of South Carolina was proud to support Lindsey Graham in the 2002 General Election; and
Whereas, The Republican Law Society has been pleased with Senator Graham's representation of the state of South Carolina up to this point; and
Whereas, The members of the Republican Law Society are acutely aware of the significant shortage of federal judges, resulting in cases that would otherwise take months to adjudicate instead lasting several years; and
Whereas, The Constitution of the United States plainly establishes that a majority vote is sufficient to confirm executive nominees; and
Whereas, According to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Ballin v. U.S., the rule-making authority of the United States Senate does not extend to treating rules that are in violation of the Constitution; and Whereas, The filibuster rule plainly violates the Constitution by having the effect of requiring 60 votes to confirm executive nominees as opposed to the Constitutional requirement of only 51 votes; and
Whereas, The filibuster?s application to executive nominations should therefore be struck down by the Senate as unconstitutional; and
Whereas, The filibuster rule means that 41 Senators representing 31 million
Americans can thwart the will of 59 Senators representing the remaining 262 million Americans (source: 2003 U.S. Census Bureau Estimates); and
Whereas, The very design of the United States Senate, two senators per state regardless of population, is and was designed to be a perfectly adequate protection of minority rights: North Dakota, with 600,000 residents, has an equal number of votes as California, with 35 million residents; and
Whereas, The "compromise" made by Senator Graham and the other six Republican Senators provides absolutely no guarantee that the Democrats will not filibuster future nominees; and
Whereas, The judges who have been denied votes by this ?compromise? are fair, honorable, intelligent, and capable members of the legal community who are supported by a majority of the Senate; these and all other nominees absolutely deserve fair up-or-down votes as required by the Constitution; and
Whereas, The Republican Law Society respectfully reminds Senator Graham that he received only 54% of the vote in his 2002 bid for the United States Senate, therefore, if the 60% vote requirement Senator Graham has now applied to judicial nominees had applied to his Senate campaign, Lindsey Graham would never have become a United States Senator;
Therefore, be it Resolved, That the Republican Law Society does condemn Senator Lindsey Graham's participation with the "Gang of Seven" Republican senators who have joined with the Democrats to deny President Bush's judicial nominees fair up-or-down votes as required by the Constitution; and
Be it Further Resolved, That the Republican Law Society urges Senator Graham to reconsider his position on the issue, particularly in the likely event of a Supreme Court nomination, and to support the restoration of the historic Senate practice of providing up-or-down votes to executive nominees, since this historic practice is both fair and Constitutional, while the current practice is neither.
The Republican Law Society of the University of South Carolina is made up of law students and other members of the South Carolina legal community who support the principles and platform of the Republican Party. The two guiding principles of the Republican Law Society are (1) that the U.S. Constitution and all other laws should be interpreted as written and (2) that the judicial branch is coequal, not superior, to the legislative and executive branches of government.