10.01.2008 0

Running Out the Clock

  • On: 10/10/2008 20:59:54
  • In: Hard Left
  • The Democrats in the U.S. Senate are running out the clock on President Bush’s conservative judicial nominations.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had promised to confirm at least 15 judicial nominations made by President Bush in his last two years in office, which would be roughly the same number as that of Bill Clinton in his last two years. Said the Majority Leader on the Senate floor in April of this year:

    “We are trying to keep up with the average that has gone on in years past without a lot of political bickering.”

    Unfortunately, Harry Reid is keeping part of his promise. There has been very little political bickering over the judges. In fact, there has been very little heard from the Democrats about them at all. So little that the Republicans are beginning to take notice and push for action to be taken.

    Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Reid introduced a 492-page amendment to a global warming bill. According to parliamentary procedure, the clerk begins to read the amendment. However, a motion is usually made to suspend the reading of the bill, pending no objections. That is usually the end.

    But this time, Senate Republicans seized the opportunity to visibly protest against the treatment of the judicial nominees, and objected, requiring the amendment to be read. Throughout the afternoon, the Republicans continued to object to motions to suspend the reading, forcing the Senate into session well into the evening as the entire document was read.

    The actions sparked protests from the Democrats, who complained that the judicial nominations are only an excuse with which to hold up the controversial global warming bill. Republicans argued that the fight was about keeping ones’ word in the Senate.

    Aside from the lack of movement on nominees in general, McConnell has cited the specific broken promise that three judges would be confirmed by Memorial Day (only one was, and no movement has taken place on the other two). Senator Patrick Leahy, head of the judiciary committee, has invoked the “Thurmond rule,” which says that a president’s nominees can be ignored after July of the presidential election year.

    One problem with that: The year that Republican Senator Strom Thurmond made those comments was 1980, and Senate Republicans confirmed Stephen Breyer to a judgeship late fall, despite the fact that the nominating President, Jimmy Carter, had been wiped out in the election.

    There is still plenty of time for votes on these nominees. In Reagan’s last years, the Democratic-controlled senate approved two of his nominees just one month before the 1988 presidential election.

    This year, however, it appears that the clock is being run out.

    ALG CTA: Kudos to Majority Leader McConnell for showing some guts and standing up for the confirmation of the judicial nominees. ALG urges Mr. McConnell not to back down or give in, and not to let the public lose sight of this issue until the judges get the vote they deserve. Citizens concerned over the lack of fair up-or-down votes for judicial nominees should be urged to contact their Senator and urge that the remaining nominees get a quick up-or-down vote before the session is over.


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