“I welcome this debate. The time has come for Republican Senators to decide whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate, or break those rules for the first time in 217 years of American history. Democrats and responsible Republicans will vote to preserve the checks and balances that the Founders of our country so wisely established. It is time to say no to this abuse of power.
“As Senator Frist conceded during his debate with Senator Byrd yesterday, there is no constitutional right to an up-down vote on judicial nominees. If there were, more than 60 of President Clinton’s nominees had their rights violated. Senator Frist says he wants a Fairness Rule, but a rule allowing the President to ram extreme judges through the Senate is unfair to the American people.
“It is ironic that the Majority Leader wants this debate to follow ‘the rules, and best traditions, of the Senate’ because the debate will be about whether those rules and traditions should be trashed for short-term political advantage. Nonetheless, I agree that this debate should be conducted with the utmost civility. The eyes of the Nation are upon the Senate. The American people will see whether the Senate passes this historic test.”