Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Moving Away from Democracy and the US Constitution

These are astonishing and historical times, as the Bush Administration permanently leads our country away from the honorable democratic reforms of our forefathers and the US Constitution, and toward the slippery slope of a more authoritiarian form of government....

(One thing that strikes me as particularly astonishing is that the public doesn't yet grasp is that Bush purposely nominated a couple wholly unsuited, even offensively unsuited, judges to the federal bench because he wants the Democrats to disagree......and he wants to kill the filibuster so he can reign unchecked in his power. This is a purposely divisive tactic. This entire tragic scenario is not by is by Bush design.)

From the Center for American Progress.....

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has indicated that he will pull the trigger on the “nuclear option” as early as today to ram through President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees. With this unprecedented abuse of Senate rules for ideological gain, the raw fury and corruption endemic in the modern conservative movement will again be on full display.

First, it was Tom DeLay abusing congressional authority to interfere in private medical decisions of Terri Schiavo’s family. Never in the history of the United States has Congress directly intervened in a single family’s private medical decisions as it did in the tragic Terri Schiavo case. Right-wing leaders proved their willingness to go to any length to invade the privacy of American families—including violating long standing constitutional and moral principles—to impose their way of thinking on unsuspecting citizens.

Now, Bill Frist wants to rig the rules to put in extreme judges like Janice Rogers Brown who willfully ignore the constitution of the United States. Justice Brown is a leading voice of an extreme right-wing legal movement to return constitutional law to the days when the federal government had little or no power to enforce child labor laws or other workplace regulations. She has consistently ruled against minorities and the elderly, downplaying racial issues and saying age discrimination legislation is harmful to the business community. Frist wants to level the Senate to put in a judge who does not respect the basic rights of Americans.

The president and Congress should develop an orderly process for vetting prospective nominees that is respectful of the constitutional role and prerogatives of each branch. It doesn’t have to be this way going forward. As American Progress CEO and President John Podesta has argued, the president should meet with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate and the Judiciary Committee to signal his readiness to seek the advice—and not merely the consent—of the Senate on judicial nominations and to work cooperatively with committee leaders to fill vacancies in a timely fashion.

For their part, once a process is in place that generates nominees who are broadly acceptable to the Senate, Senate leaders should honor their part of the bargain, opposing procedural devices, including holds and filibusters, whose purpose is to delay or frustrate the timely confirmation of the president's nominees.

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