As the showdown approaches in the U.S. Senate over the use of the judicial filibuster, everyone on both sides is counting votes. Will there be enough support to change the rules and put the filibuster off limits?
An interesting development occured today when one of President Bush's judicial nominees went before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Utah attorney Thomas Griffith was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Today he cleared the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 14-4. That means four Democrats voted in support of Griffith, who was nominated to replace Miguel Estrada - an attorney who withdrew his nomination after being filibustered. The Democrats now say there is not likely to be a filibuster of Griffith because he garnered some Democratic support on the Judiciary Committee. Can the same be said of the nine nominees - all well-qualified - who were filibustered last time? They will go before the Judiciary Committee again - and there is nothing to suggest that they will get any Democratic support. But what's worse - it is very likely that this small minority will prevent their colleagues from voting on these nominees by utilizing the judicial filibuster. In other words, the obstructionist tactic that put their nomination on the shelf last session is likely to be utilized again with the same result.
The fact is that all of these nominees would have been confirmed without delay by a simply majority vote - if their nomination went to the full Senate floor. That did not happen because of the filibuster. And, it is likely that a small minority in the Senate won't permit them to get an up-or-down vote this time either knowing that they will be confirmed by the full Senate.
That's why the rules change has to take place. The ACLJ is working on Capitol Hill to get rid of this judicial filibuster and let the nominees get what they deserve - full consideration on the Senate floor.
More than 20,000 people already have signed on to our Petition to End Judicial Filibusters. If you name is not on the list, it needs to be. Add your name today!