Et Tu, Barbara?
As an editorial in the May 2, 2005 edition of the Washington Times reveals, minority obstructionism in the U.S. Senate in carrying out their constitutional ‘advise and consent’ duty on judicial nominations run counter to their pleas for a fair up-or-down vote not only when President Clinton was in the Oval Office, but also during the 2000 campaign, and even following President Bush’s first year in office:
• ‘I think we should have up-or-down votes in the committee and on the floor.’ — June 9, 2001, then-Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV) right after President Bush nominated his first set of circuit court nominations, which was a few days following the Democrat’s gaining majority party status of the Senate.
• On Sept. 14, 2000, Sen. Tom Harkin said: ‘Governor [George W.} Bush had the right idea. He said the candidate should get an up-or-down vote within 60 days of their nomination.’ – September 14, 2000, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).
• ‘We are paid to vote either yes or no — not vote maybe. When we hold a nominee up by not allowing them a vote and not taking any action one way or the other, we are not only voting maybe, but we are doing a terrible disservice to the man or woman to whom we do this.’ – October 3, 2000, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), in agreement with then-Gov. Bush on his up-or-down vote philosophy during the 2000 campaign.
• ‘A nominee is entitled to a vote. Vote them up; vote them down.’ The next month, she declared, ‘Our institutional integrity requires an up-or-down vote.’ — Sept. 16, 1999, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
• ‘I am not suggesting that we would give our consent to all of these nominees. I am basically saying that this process should come to a close. The Senate should vote.’ – Sept. 28, 1998, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).
• ‘Whether the delays are on the Republican side or the Democratic side, let these names come up, let us have debate, let us vote.’ – January 28, 1998, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
• ‘If the majority of the Senate opposes a judicial nominee enough to derail a nomination by an up-or-down vote, then at least the process has been served.’ – December 15, 1997, Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD).
SBE Council is encouraging all U.S. Senators to allow for an up-or-down vote on President Bush’s extraordinarily qualified judicial nominees.