Thursday, May 19, 2005

Urgent Request by Senator Reid to Contact 8 States

I've written endlessly about the "nuclear option" threat by Bill Frist to irreparably damage the Senate away from the democracy designed by our forefathers.

Yesterday, I was part of a DNC conference call in which Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid updated the liberal blogosphere on the latest and greatest on the Senate floor. Reid asked us...and all of you... to contact senators from Arizona, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maine, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Alaska and New Hampshire, and ask them to vote to maintain the checks and balances of democracy and to vote their consciences....don't vote in response to pressure from moneyed lobbyists and special interests.

And please pray for the stability and sanctity of our country. It's in serious peril today.
John Podesta's Center for American Progress sums it up best today.....

Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) took another step towards invoking the nuclear option – ending the 200-year-old practice of the filibuster. If he succeeds in this unprecedented power grab, he will have blatantly violated the Senate’s own rules and seriously weakened the ability of the Senate to provide a counterweight to presidential power under our constitutional system of checks and balances. The American people are not supporting his efforts – according to the Pew Foundation, 59 percent of Americans oppose the nuclear option. Yet, Frist continues to push this unpopular plan, hoping to gain power anyway he can.

Frist is misleading Americans about how many of Bush’s judges are getting approval. Despite Senator Frist’s rhetoric, the truth is that more of President Bush’s nominees have been confirmed than were confirmed during Reagan’s first term, George H.W. Bush’s single term, or Clinton’s second term. The Senate has confirmed 207 Bush nominees to the federal district courts and courts of appeals. The 204 nominees confirmed during his first term represent 95 percent of the nominations brought to the floor during the Bush presidency. Notably, nearly half of these (100) were confirmed during the 17 months that the Democrats controlled the Senate.

Frist has resorted to using the harshest language to demonize his opponents. Yesterday Bill Frist said that the opposition to Bush’s judicial picks wants to “kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees.” Given the current climate against judges, Frist’s words were reckless. There has been a rash of violence against judges this year, including the murder of a judge in Atlanta and the murder of the mother and husband of federal Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago.

Frist’s filibustering past undermines his own argument. Senator Frist participated in his own filibuster in 2000 when he voted to hold up the nomination of Judge Richard Paez. When confronted about it on the Senate Floor yesterday, Frist justified his actions by saying that it was only one person who was filibustered, not “two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten in a routine way.” So Frist apparently has no problem with filibustering judges, as long as it’s one at a time. Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.

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