Senate Democrats

Selected Statements from Republican Senators on the Constitutionality of Filibustering Nominees and the Deference Owed to the President’s Nominees

 

Senator Alexander

  • “I pledged, then and there, I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.”  (Congressional Chronicle, June 9, 2005)
  • “I am beginning to think it is a train and that there is not much way to avoid a train wreck. The train wreck I am talking about is a threat by the minority to ‘shut the Senate down in every way’ if the majority adopts rules that will do what the Senate has done for 200 years, which is to vote up or down the President’s appellate judicial nominees.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/12/05]
  • “I have pledged and I still pledge to give up my right to filibuster any president’s nominee for the appellate courts.” [Remarks of Senator Alexander, 5/20/05]

Senator Burr

  • “If anything, we are saying, for 214 years this institution, the Senate, had a gentleman’s agreement, and that agreement was that the filibuster would never be used for judicial nominees. For 214 years they showed restraint, even though the rule allowed them to do it because they understood that the process was so important to make sure the best and the brightest found their way to the bench. For 214 years a handshake was all it took […] What happened for 214 years? This debate is about principle. It is about allowing judicial nominees an up or-down vote on the Senate floor. And I believe it is an issue of fairness.” [Senate Floor Speech, 5/19/05]
  • “But denying these patriotic Americans, of both parties, who seek to serve this country an up-or-down vote is simply not fair, and it certainly was not the intention of our Founding Fathers when they designed and created this very institution.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/20/05]
  • “There is no doubt in my mind the task includes ensuring that the Senate provides judicial nominees on [sic] up-or-down votes… Obstructing votes on Presidential nominees threatens the future of our judicial system and the nature of the Supreme Court.” [Senate Floor Speech, 5/19/05]

Senator Coburn:

  • “This [the 2005 debate over filibusters] is a tough time for our country because it pits [the] reality of what the Constitution says against the raw politics that guide[] us. . . . . There is a defined charge to the President and the Senate on advice and consent [with respect to all Presidential nominations, judicial and otherwise].”   (Tulsa World, May 22, 2005)
  • “The only deal [to be made with Senate Democrats] is that you’re not going to filibuster judicial nominees.  There’s 200 years of history of that.  It’s the right thing to do.  It’s constitutional.  And the fact is . . . we need to return to what the 200-year precedent has been.  If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent.  That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee.  And that happened for 200 years.”  (CNBC’s Kudlow & Company, Apr. 26, 2005)

Senators Chambliss and Isakson

  • “We both wholeheartedly support discussion and debate regarding judicial nominees. It is important for each judicial nominee to have his or her qualifications examined, undergo thorough background checks and be asked tough questions. But it is also important that after a time of extensive debate, there must also be a time for a decision. […] Like many Americans, we believe that our nation’s judicial system should be put above partisan politics and under no circumstances should either party obstruct the courts from doing their important work. In this particular case, the Senate must give each nominee a fair, up-or-down vote to fulfill its constitutional duty.” [The Atlanta Journal Constitution via Isakson.Senate.gov, “Filibusters obstruct the Senate’s duty,” 5/24/09
  • “Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.” [The Atlanta Journal Constitution via Isakson.Senate.gov, “Filibusters obstruct the Senate’s duty,” 5/24/09]

Senator Coburn

  • “For the first 214 years of our nation’s history, the president has been able to nominate judges and expect that those nominees would receive the courtesy of a straight up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate. During this time, the Senate operated within its Constitutional ‘advice and c onsent’ role. The president would nominate judges of his choice with advice from the Senate. The Senate would then either consent and confirm that nominee by a majority vote or reject that nominee…In 2003, however, obstructionist senators decided the system that was designed by our founders and practiced for 214 years was no longer fair. If the minority didn’t like the judicial philosophy of one of President Bush’s nominees they concluded it was their right to deny them the courtesy of an up or down vote through a filibuster. Instead of needing 51 votes to be confirmed, the minority unilaterally declared that judges who failed their liberal litmus test would need 60 votes to break their filibuster. Never before in American history has a judicial nominee with clear majority support been denied an up-or-down vote.” [Coburn.Senate.gov, “President Bush’s Nominees Deserve a Vote,” 5/11/05]

Senator Cochran

  • “There should be no question in anyone’s mind about my intentions. I will work in concert with our leader, and with the distinguished Majority Whip, Mr. McConnell, to end filibusters of judicial nominations in the Senate.” [Cochran.Senate.gov, “Senator Thad Cochran Announces Support,” 4/14/05]

Senator Cornyn

  • “I believe, about the process of reestablishing the precedent of majority rule that had prevailed for 214 years in the Senate, that would say any President’s nominees, whether they be Republican or Democrat, if they have the support of a majority of the Senate, will get an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Senators who believe these nominees should be confirmed can vote for them and those who believe they should not be confirmed can vote against them.” [Senate Floor Speech, 5/24/05]
  • “And we need to get a fresh start. And that means, I believe, an up-or-down vote for all presidents’ nominees whether they be Republican or Democrat… We need a permanent solution to this problem. And I believe it should be along the lines that I suggested, that each president’s nominees would be treated exactly the same and not dependent on who happens to take up the decision to block, in a partisan fashion, a bipartisan majority from being able to cast an up-or-down vote.” [CQ Transcriptions “U.S. Senator John Cornyn Holds a News Conference on Judicial Nominees,” 5/9/05]
  • “Far too many judicial and executive nominees have been delayed by the majority party of the Senate. An up-or-down vote is a matter of fundamental fairness, and it is the Senate’s constitutional duty to act on each nomination. It is also critically important to our judicial system and the proper functioning of our federal government to fill these positions.  Senators have a right to vote for or against any nominee-but blocking votes on nominations is unacceptable.”  (Senate website, Feb. 7, 2008)
  • “That is why the filibusters of judicial nominations have never been a part of Senate tradition before, and why its current usage is such an abomination: Simply put, filibusters are the most virulent form of unnecessary delay one can imagine in the Senate’s exercise of the judicial confirmation power. . . . The indefinite, needless, and wasteful delay caused by filibusters of judicial nominations distracts the Senate from other important business. And it hurts Americans. It leaves not only would-be judges in limbo, but also thousands of litigants. . . . The current filibusters of judicial nominations are not only unprecedented and wrong, they are also offensive to our nation’s constitutional design.”  (Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Fall 2003)
  • “I must say, I find it simply baffling that a Senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination.”  (Floor statement, Nov. 11, 2003)
  • “We held a popular referendum on November 2 and, frankly, the politics of obstruction and anger were repudiated. What the American people want and expect is that we will get the business of the American people done in this body and that we will not degenerate into partisan finger pointing or name-calling, nor obstruction of the kind we have seen occur time and time again against this President’s nominees…”  (Floor statement on Gonzales nomination, Feb. 1, 2005, Cong. Rec. S714a)
  • “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations. And so a rule change my [sic] ultimately not be necessary. If it is, as Senator Specter has observed, there is precedent for it. And indeed, if necessary, I trust we will move to the so-called — what I call the constitutional option, which is the ruling from the chair, upheld by the majority of the Senate.”  (Press conference, Nov. 18, 2004).

Senator Crapo:

  • “I think it should be clarified to the American people that the fact we are now seeing a filibuster sustained against nominees of the President turns the Constitution on its head and begins a very dangerous precedent with regard to how the nominees for the judicial branch are treated by this Senate. . . . [U]ntil this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.” (Floor Statement, Nov. 12, 2003, Cong. Rec. S 14703)
  • “We are pleased that three of the President’s judicial nominees will receive fair up-or-down votes – it is about time. However, we continue to stress that the Constitution requires the Senate to hold up-or-down votes on all nominees. We will continue to work to ensure that is the case.” [Craig/Crapo Press Release: “Craig, Crapo React to Judicial Nominees Deal,” 5/25/05]

Senator DeMint

  • “How can I advise and consent without the ability to cast a vote? Forty-one senators are preventing a bipartisan majority from carrying out the duty we were elected to fulfill. In 2003, Democrats used the filibuster to block up-or-down votes on 10 nominations – all had bipartisan, majority support. This was unprecedented. […] We need to end the undemocratic blockade of judicial nominees, which is why I have urged Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to consider the constitutional option. Senators were elected to advise and consent, not to grandstand and obstruct.” [The State via Demint.Senate.gov, “It’s Time for Votes on Judicial Nominees,” 5/22/05]
  • “My goal is to confirm highly qualified judges by ensuring timely up-or-down votes for all nominees… Every nominee, no matter if the President is Democrat or Republican, deserves an up-or-down vote,” [US Fed News “Sens. DeMint, Freshman GOP Call for end to Judicial Filibusters,” 4/20/05]

Senator Enzi

  • “One has to wonder what Justice Marshall would think about what is going on in the Senate today. Would he agree with my colleagues across the aisle that it is all right to put partisan politics and partisan bickering ahead of the rights of judicial nominees if those impacted are just a small fraction of society. Would he agree with them that justice denied for a few was acceptable? Or would he hold true to the basic tenets of the Constitution that all men are created equal and that everyone has the right to their day in court? […] I think this is wrong, and I sincerely hope we move off this obstructionism and have an up or down vote on these highly qualified individuals, whose talents, experience and integrity can easily be considered the ideal for what we want in judges. […] If you don’t agree with them, or feel they are not qualified, then vote against them. That is your prerogative and duty as a Senator. But do not continue to deny justice for the nominees or the courts any longer.” [Senate Floor Speech, 11/12/03]

Senator Graham:

  • “The big winners in this filibuster efforts [sic] are the special interest groups because it is much easier for a special interest group to control 41 Senators than a majority.”  (U.S. Newswire, Nov. 18, 2003)
  • “I would argue strongly it is not by accident that the majority requirement applying to judges was put there on purpose.  Our job, as I see it, is not to say what we would do if we were President.  Our job, as the Constitution lays out for us, is to advise and consent by a majority vote to make sure the President . . . is not sending over their brother-in-law or sister-in-law or unqualified people. . . . What we have done this year, different from other years, is we have taken our political differences and our desire to make the court go one way versus the other and we have hijacked the Constitution for political reasons. . . . If we keep up this practice, it will do long-term damage to this country.”  (Floor statement, Nov. 12, 2003)

Senator Grassley:

  • “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”  (Media Availability, Feb. 11, 2003)
  • “Through an unjust abuse of the filibuster, a minority of Senators is preventing a majority of the Senate from taking an up or down vote on President Bush’s judicial nominees, and that is just not right.” (Statement to Voice of America News, Nov. 14, 2003)
  • “What we’re seeing now is unprecedented.  Judicial nominees with clear majority support have never been denied a vote by a partisan filibuster until two years ago, and now we’ve got 10 qualified judges with majority support being held up.  The Democrats are denying the Senate its constitutional responsibility of advice/consent by systematically denying appellate court nominees an up-or-down vote.  And we can’t find anywheres in the Constitution that says a supermajority is needed for confirmation.”  (Press conference, May 19, 2005)
  • “History has proven the wisdom of having the President place judges with the support of the majority of the Senate. That process ensures balance on the court between judges placed by Republican Presidents and those placed by Democrat Presidents. The current obstruction led by Senate Democratic leaders threatens that balance. It’s time to make sure all judges receive a fair vote on the Senate floor.” [Grassley.Senate.gov, “Talking Judges to Death,” 5/8/05]
  • “The current obstruction led by Senate Democratic leaders threatens that balance. Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown deserve an up or down vote. It’s high time to make sure all judges receive a fair up or down vote on the Senate floor.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/23/05]

Senator Hatch:

  • “The advice and consent clause [of the Constitution] is clearly an up or down vote—a majority vote—on the floor of the Senate.  The Founding Fathers knew what a supermajority vote was. . . . If they had wanted it to be a 60-vote margin . . . they would have said so.”  (Deseret News, Nov. 13, 2003)
  • “[We] must afford the President a significant degree of deference to shape his Cabinet as he sees fit.  The election is over, President Bush won, and nothing will change that fact.”   (Floor statement on the Ashcroft nomination, Feb. 1, 2001, Cong. Rec. S961)
  • “Under the Constitution, the President has the primary appointment authority. We check that authority, but we may not hijack it. We may not use our role of advise and consent to undermine the President’s authority to appoint judges. That is why, as I have argued on this floor many times, it is wrong to use the filibuster to defeat judicial nominees who have majority support, who would be confirmed if only we could vote up or down. That is why I have never voted against cloture on a judicial nomination.”  (Floor Statement, Oct. 24, 2007, Cong. Rec. S13289)
  • “All we are asking is the 214-year tradition of the Senate that judicial nominees not be filibustered be followed. That has been the tradition of the Senate up until President Bush became President. All we are asking is that every one of these qualified nominees who have reached the floor receive an up-or-down vote. That is all we are asking.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/27/05]
  • “…I think we should bind both Democrats and Republicans that presidential nominees for the judiciary deserve an up-and-down vote once they reach the floor…” [NPR, “Orrin Hatch Discusses Debate in Senate,” 5/19/05]

Senator Hutchison

  • “Our Founding Fathers understood the need to have three separate and equal branches of government so there would be checks and balances throughout our system. They gave to the President the right to appoint a Federal judiciary, a Federal judiciary that has lifelong appointments. They gave to the Senate the right of confirmation — advise and consent as it is called in the Constitution — that has always meant a majority vote.  If a two-thirds vote has ever been required by the Constitution, it is specified. So we are talking a simple majority, a simple majority to confirm the nominees of the President.  That is the check and the balance in the system.”  (Floor Statement, Feb. 25, 2003, Cong. Rec. S2647)
  • “In all these cases, she had a majority of votes in the Senate for confirmation, but she is not on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today. Why? Because her nomination is being filibustered by Democrats, and she has been held to a standard of 60 votes instead of 51. That is changing the Constitution of the United States. […] It is not the rule that is being changed in this debate. It is the precedent of the Senate, for 200 years, that was changed in the 108th Congress, by requiring 60 votes for the confirmation of judges. And we are now looking to reaffirm the will of the Senate to do exactly what the Constitution envisions; and that is, a 51-vote majority for judges. Two hundred years of Senate precedent is being torn apart. Through Democrat majority control and Republican majority control over the years-the filibuster was not used as it was in the last session of Congress.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/27/05]
  • “They have gotten away with obstructing by exploiting the filibuster and denying Justice Owen a direct vote. Now, unfortunately, we must take action to ensure President Bush’s nominees are getting the up-or-down vote they deserve.” [San Antonio Express-News, “Senate showdown looms on judges,” 4/22/2005]
  • “And we are now looking to reaffirm the will of the Senate to do exactly what the Constitution envisions; and that is, a 51-vote majority for judges.” [Senate Floor Speech, 4/27/05]

Senator Inhofe:

  • Inhofe stated that he “want[ed] to limit the current battle over the filibuster to judicial nominees and retain the practice on executive branch nominees and legislation. ‘I believe in the filibuster,’ Inhofe said. ‘I don’t think it should be used where it is contrary to the Constitution.’ On Cabinet posts and other executive branch positions filled by presidential appointment, Inhofe said, the filibuster is appropriate even though they, unlike judges, do not receive lifetime appointments. ‘The Constitution refers specifically to judges as opposed to military and executive branch nominations,’ he said.”  (Tulsa World, May 22, 2005)
  • “But the Democrats, who cannot muster a majority to oppose him, are seeking, in effect, to change the Constitutional majority-vote requirement. By sustaining this filibuster, they are asserting that 60 votes, not 50, will be required to approve Mr. Estrada. If successful, their effort will amount to a de facto amendment to the Constitution. This outrageous grab for power by the Senate minority is wrong and contrary to our oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Inhofe said. [Senate Floor Speech, 3/11/03]

Senator Kyl:

  • “It’s time to take the politics out of the confirmation process, give nominees the up or down vote they deserve, and move the orderly process of justice forward.”  (Press Release, Nov. 12, 2003)
  • “The President should get to pick his own team.”  (Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearing on Ashcroft nomination, Jan. 16, 2001, 23b)
  • “When someone is qualified and has the confidence of the President …. unless there is some highly disqualifying factor brought to our attention – [we] should accede to the President’s request for his nomination and confirm the individual.”  (Floor statement on Gonzales nomination, Feb. 2, 2005, Cong. Rec. S837)
  • “For 214 years it has been the tradition of the Senate to approve judicial nominees by a majority vote. Many of our judges and, for example, Clarence Thomas, people might recall, was approved by either fifty-one or fifty-two votes as I recall. It has never been the rule that a candidate for judgeship that had majority support was denied the ability to be confirmed once before the Senate. It has never happened before. So we’re not changing the rules in the middle of the game. We’re restoring the 214-year tradition of the Senate because in the last two years Democrats have begun to use this filibuster. […] This is strictly about whether or not a minority of senators is going to prevent the president from being able to name and get confirmed judges that he chooses after he’s been elected by the American people. And it’s never been the case until the last two years that a minority could dictate to the majority what they could do.” [NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, “Judicial Wars,” 4/25/05]
  • “All we seek is a return to 214 years of tradition in allowing presidential nominees the courtesy of an up-or-down vote… These men and women are great Americans who have devoted their lives to public service, universally regarded for their intelligence and integrity…Calling them names like ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’ is a partisan affront not only to them personally but also to the voters who have supported them and organizations like the American Bar Association that have declared them well suited for the bench ” [Capitol Hill Press Releases “Kyl Calls for ‘Up or Down’ Vote on Judicial Nominees,” 5/18/05]
  • “No. It’s not a religious debate at all. I know that some of the media have portrayed it as such. I think that both Democrats and Republicans are talking to all kinds of folks, but I know because Sen. Durbin and I have both discussed this in the Judiciary Committee that neither of us believe that there should be any religious litmus test. This isn’t about religion at all. This is strictly about whether or not a minority of senators is going to prevent the president from being able to name and get confirmed judges that he chooses after he’s been elected by the American people. And it’s never been the case until the last two years that a minority could dictate to the majority what they could do.” [PBS News Hour, 4/25/05]
  • “Just quickly respond to one point here: There has never been a successful filibuster of a nominee that had majority support in the history of the United States Senate. The incident that was mentioned by Sen. Durbin was a situation in which Trent Lott – the then majority leader – worked with Tom Daschle the then minority leader to be sure that two controversial choices of President Clinton got a vote up or down on the Senate floor. And we voted to allow them to have a vote. Now I voted for one of the candidates and I voted against one of the candidates. That’s what we ought to allow here is an up or down vote. But we didn’t stop those candidates from being voted on. They’re sitting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals right now.” [PBS News Hour, 4/25/05]

Senator McConnell:

  • “Any President’s judicial nominees should receive careful consideration.  But after that debate, they deserve a simple up-or-down vote. . . . It’s time to move away from advise and obstruct and get back to advise and consent.  The stakes are high . . . . The Constitution of the United States is at stake.  Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges.  The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent.  But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules.  They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.  In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators.”  (States News Service, May 19, 2005)
  • “Because of the unprecedented obstruction of our Democratic colleagues, the Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote.  I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.’ […]Given those results, many of us had hoped that the politics of obstruction would have been dumped in the dustbin of history. Regretfully, that did not happen.” [Senate Floor Speech, 5/19/05]
  • “What we’re talking about here is not the filibuster rule overall, but getting back to the practice of allowing judicial appointments for judge candidates who have a majority support in the Senate to have an up or down vote.” [CBS News, The Osgood File, 4/25/05]
  • “…I don’t want to get too technical here, but the point is, what Senator Frist is considering doing is not unprecedented. It was done by Senator Byrd when he was majority leader. What is unprecedented is the fact that the Senate, for the first time in 200 years, last Congress chose to filibuster judges for the purpose of defeating them. That had never been done before in the history of the Senate. That’s what’s new…What Senate Republicans are contemplating doing and what I think they should do is to get us back to the precedents that were established prior to the last Congress, in which judicial appointments were given an up-or-down – that is, a majority – vote.” [Fox News Sunday, 3/27/05]
  • “Let’s get back to the way the Senate operated for over 200 years, up or down votes on the president’s nominee, no matter who the president is, no matter who’s in control of the Senate. That’s the way we need to operate.” [Los Angeles Times, “The Nation; Clock Ticks on Effort to Defuse Senate Battle,” 5/23/05]

Senator Murkowski

  • “I take very seriously my obligation under the Constitution to provide the advice and consent to the judicial nominations of individuals who are nominated by the President to serve on the Federal bench. I have heard repeatedly over the hours the term ‘rubberstamp,’ there is a rubberstamp approval. Those on my side of the aisle would automatically take the President’s nominees. I do not take part of my job to mean that my vote is intended to be a rubberstamp of approval for the President’s nominations to these critical judicial positions. I am frustrated that after serving in the Senate for almost a year, and contrary to what some Members may assert, the Senate has not been permitted to vote up or down on the merits, on the qualifications of the individuals who are embroiled in this current dispute. Rather, we have been prevented, I have been prevented as a Member of the Senate, as an individual, from voting for or against a nomination by a legislative procedure, legislative procedural rules unique to this body.” [Senate Floor Speech, 11/12/03]

Senator Roberts:

  • “The use of the filibuster essentially gives the minority veto power [which the Constitution didn’t intend.]”  (The Wichita Eagle, Nov. 14, 2003)
  • “Let me talk about cost. Taxpayers spend $5.1 billion for the Federal judiciary every year. The American people are paying for fully staffed courts and are getting obstructionism and vacant benches. Reckless behavior such as this is irresponsible and a waste of taxpayer dollars.” [Senate Floor Speech, 11/12/05]
  • “You’re getting my dander up now. It’s not only Estrada; it is a new standard. If this sticks, if the filibuster sticks, it will mean that you will have to have 60 votes for any nominee. We are really changing the constitutional design of what it takes to basically nominate and approve any judge.” [Fox News Sunday, 03/03/03]

Senator Sessions:

  • “The vote, historically, since the founding of this Republic, is a majority vote.  Lets [sic] look at that.  The Constitution says that the Congress shall advise and consent on treaties, provided two-thirds agree, and shall advise and consent on judges and other nominees.  Since the founding of the Republic, we have understood that there was a two-thirds super majority for ratification and advice and consent on treaties and a majority vote for judges.  That is what we have done.  That is what we have always done.  But there was a conscious decision on behalf of the leadership, unfortunately, of the Democratic Party in the last Congress to systematically filibuster some of the best nominees ever submitted to the Senate.  It has been very painful.”  (Floor Statement, May 23, 2005)
  • “But they [the Democrats] blocked an up-or-down vote by carrying out the filibuster rule, and I think that’s a very, very grim thing.  It should not occur.” (The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Sept. 4, 2003)
  • “This past election in large part hinged, as George Allen said, on a debate over the judiciary and whether or not obstruction was justified. I think the American people sent a clear message and I believe it’s time for this Senate to make sure that judges get an up-or-down vote.” [CQ Transcriptions “U.S. Sen. Allen & Other Senate Republicans Hold a Media Availability on the Possibility of a Democrat Filibuster,” 3/15/05]

Senator Shelby

  • “As a U.S. Senator, I believe that the review of judicial nominations is one of the most important responsibilities of the Senate, and I firmly believe that each of the President’s nominees should be afforded a straight up-or-down vote. I do not think that any of us want to operate in an environment where federal judicial nominees must receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed. To that end I firmly support changing the Senate rules to require that a simple majority be necessary to confirm all judicial nominees, thus ending the continuous filibuster of them. Federal judges are invested with extensive power and are given lifetime tenure. Therefore, I pay particularly close attention to the records, backgrounds, and philosophical views of all judicial nominees prior to voting. Given the tremendous shortage of federal judges, it is my hope that the Senate will move quickly to confirm judicial appointments.” [Shelby.Senate.gov, “Issue Statements: Judiciary,” accessed 4/15/2009]

Senator Thune

  • “I still believe that all judicial nominees with majority support deserve the fairness of an up or down vote on the Senate floor.” [Thune.Senate.gov, “Senator Thune statement on judicial nominee compromise,” 5/23/05]
  • “According to the Constitution, the President is entitled to nominate the individuals he desires to have on the courts, and we in the Senate must determine whether the nominee is fit and qualified. There should be no ideological litmus test for nominees. If a nominee is fit and qualified, he or she should be confirmed.” [Senate Floor Speech, 9/28/05]

Senator Vitter

  • “As U.S. Senators, it is our constitutional duty to give advice and consent when a president nominates individuals to the bench. I think that every nominee deserves a vote. It’s a matter of fairness.” [Vitter.Senate.gov, “Vitter Supports Senate Vote on Judicial Nominees,” 5/19/05]
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