April 19, 2005
ACTION ALERT!!!! The Most Important Vote: Fr. Frank PavoneTopics:
Fr. Frank Pavone
The vote I'm talking about will affect how easily the Senate can put the right men and women onto the Federal Courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court. It is a vote regarding Senate rules, and, simply put, will determine whether nominees who already have the support of a majority of the Senators can be voted on.
The United States Constitution says that the President nominates people to serve on our Federal Courts, and that the US Senate is to give "advice and consent." In other words, the President presents these nominees to the Senate, and then the Senators vote "yes" or "no" as to whether that nominee will serve as a Federal Judge. The same process is used when there is a vacancy on the US Supreme Court, and such a vacancy may occur within the next couple of months.
The President has been nominating people for the Federal courts, and there have been votes and confirmations. But there is an entire group of well-qualified nominees who, in the judgment of Senate Democrats, are too "far right" for their liking. Of course, these Democrats have the right to think what they want about the nominees, and they have the right to vote against them. They also have the right to try to persuade other Senators to vote against them.
But they are not content with that. They now want to claim the right to prevent a vote one way or the other. And they do that by prolonging debate on the nominee indefinitely, so that the debate never closes and the vote is never taken. This process is called a "filibuster."
Now filibusters do have their place. There may be legislation, for example, that the minority party objects to. A filibuster can be used to indefinitely prolong debate on the legislation. This gives the minority some leverage, so that they do not lose their power altogether.
But while filibusters have an appropriate place in legislative debates, we are witnessing, for the first time in history, the use of the filibuster technique to block the "advice and consent" process of the Senate for judicial nominees, when the nominees already have the support of the majority of Senators. To the extent that the Senator is deprived of a vote, the people who elected that Senator are deprived of their voice at the highest levels of government. If this can be done now with Federal judges, it will certainly be done with a Supreme Court Justice.
Federal judges have removed "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, allowed child pornography as protected free speech, redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, struck down bans on partial-birth abortion, and contradicted the will of the people in many other ways. Many Senators want this to stop, and they can stop it by confirming judges who know the difference between applying the law and imposing their political preferences on the people.
The vote that is coming up in the next few weeks is designed to end the abuse of the filibuster and provide a fair up-or-down vote on judges. This is a unique opportunity to tell your Senators you care about the unpredecented and unfair filibustering of President Bush's nominees. Senators need to know that you care about this issue and are watching how they vote.
Posted by sherri at April 19, 2005 3:02 PM
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