Cross posted at Penndit.
Action item info, talking points, etc. below the fold.
Republicans whine about activist judges, even though there are far more Republican appointees than Democratic on Fed. appeals courts. But hey! They still want to go nuclear!
When the Republicans want to sell something, they just decide to change their vocabulary, especially when they’re polling badly and on the losing end of things.
The Democrats should call the Republicans on their word games bullshit.
The Republicans are pushing the media to just start using different language that focus grouped better for the Republicans…never mind that Republicans used the language they no longer like, for months. First it was privatization that they wanted changed to personal accounts. Now it’s nuclear option that they want changed to constituional option. If the media falls for it like the NYT did, then, I think the punditry would be wise to point to Republican Word Games as a reason for their majority. Sure politics have traditionally been a “spraying perfume on dog turd” type of deal. (Quote from Samantha Bee TDS segment.) However, the Republicans are taking it really far, and the media is printing outright lies like this one:
Democrats call this the nuclear option…
Uh, no, everyone has called it the nuclear option. I linked to something from Josh Marshall, who caught the conservative Weekly Standard using nuclear option.
So, the GOP bamboozles the NYT into saying that the nuclear option is the Democrats’ term. Same with the LATimes. What neither paper seems to realize is that the Republicans were the ones who coined the term. More on the Republican coinage of the term here and here. Even William F. Buckley says that everyone calls it the nuclear option, link.
As for the nuclear (or in Bush-speak, nuk-u-lar) option, here’s what some conservatives think about it.
From the NYT article linked above:
Several conservative groups, including the anti-union National Right to Work Committee, the Gun Owners of America and the National Pro Life Alliance, oppose the change, arguing that conservatives have often relied on filibusters too.
Theodore B. Olson, President Bush’s former solicitor general, wrote in an op-ed article published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that both parties should “stop using judicial appointments to excite special interest constituencies and political fund-raising.”
As I’m sure everyone knows, McCain and Chafee are on record against the nuclear option, too.
And if we travel back in time, the Republicans used the filibuster plenty of times when they were in the minority: Orrin Hatch hearts the filibuster!
The Republicans have flipped-flopped all over the place on the nuclear option. Whatever their exact position is, the fact remains that we’ve got to fight!
As for Senate Democrats, they’re pushing back:
Via Lexis-Nexis, the San Antonio Express-News (Texas), April 22, 2005 edition, page 1A.
”President Bush says he opposes putting judicial activists on the federal bench, yet Justice Priscilla Owen unquestionably is a judicial activist,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. The seat on the 5th Circuit has been vacant since 1997. President Clinton nominated federal Judge Jorge Rangel of Corpus Christi in 1997 to fill the seat. Federal Judge Enrique Moreno of El Paso was then nominated in 1999 to fill the vacancy. Both nominations died when Texas Republicans, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and then-Sen. Phil Gramm, opposed the candidates. The vacancy still was open when Bush was elected in 2000. Leahy countered charges of partisan obstructionism by noting the Republican senators’ opposition to Democratic nominees. ”Republicans refused to even hold hearings on Clinton’s nominees for the 5th Circuit Court seat,” he said.
Via Lexis-Nexis, from an April 21, 2005 LATimes article:
Democrats, who have 44 members in the Senate, say the filibuster is a fundamentally important check on the “tyranny of the majority,” and changing it would alter the character of the Senate in ways that violate the spirit of the Constitution.
And I don’t know why the Republicans are whining so much. It’s totally pathetic.
Via Lexis-Nexis, the Christian Science Monitor, April 22, 2005, Page 1.
Appeals court cases can be resolved in two ways. Three-judge panels decide the vast majority of federal appeals. But in certain cases, a panel decision can be further appealed to the full circuit court for so-called “en banc” review.
Republican appointees outnumber Democratic appointees in every federal appeals court except the Second Circuit in New York City (seven Democratic appointees to six Republican), the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati (six Democratic appointees to six Republican), and the Ninth Circuit (16 Democratic to eight Republican).
The Democratic advantage in both the Second and Ninth Circuits appears secure, at least in the short term. There are no current vacancies in the Second Circuit and only four vacancies in the Ninth.
The Sixth Circuit is a different story. There are currently four vacancies, more than enough to swing the court solidly in a more conservative direction.
But there is more behind the 6-6 deadlock than concern about a possible ideological shift. Three of the four vacancies date from the Clinton presidency. Republican senators had stalled Clinton nominees, and now Senate Democrats are stalling Bush nominees.
In addition, some of those ‘activist judges’ are like Judge Greer from the Schiavo case, who is, as I’m sure you all remember, an Evangelical Christian judge appointed by Ronald Reagan.
The Republicans are a bunch of crybabies.
Let’s not forget that as late as 2000, Republicans were defending the filibuster and talking about the long history of the use of the filibuster. They’ve tried to lie about how the Democrats are abusing the filibuster and that Bush is the first president to have his judicial nominees filibustered. Well, they defended the use of the filibuster on judicial nominees when Clinton was president.
Link. Isn’t it nice when history is on our side?
Former Republican Bob Smith on the filibuster. Excerpts:
“If you disagree with us on the basis of why we are objecting, fine. But don’t pontificate on the floor of the Senate and tell me that somehow I am violating the Constitution of the United States of America by blocking a judge or filibustering a judge that I don’t think deserves to be on the circuit court because I am going to continue to do it at every opportunity I believe a judge should not be on that court. That is my responsibility. That is my advise and consent role, and I intend to exercise it. I don’t appreciate being told that somehow I am violating the Constitution of the United States. I swore to uphold that Constitution, and I am doing it now by standing up and saying what I am saying.”
“Stephen Breyer was filibustered; J. Harvie Wilkinson, Sidney Fitzwater, Daniel Manion in 1985, Edward Carnes, Rosemary Barkett, H. Lee Sarokin — there are 13 of them.
So don’t tell me we haven’t filibustered judges and that we don’t have the right to filibuster judges on the floor of the Senate. Of course we do. That is our constitutional role. Some like it. And I have been on the other side. Listen, I wasn’t in the Senate when it disapproved Robert Bork, but we lost one heck of a good judge. Clarence Thomas wasn’t filibustered, but he sure was debated. I didn’t like that either. But it is our right as Senators to do that. So don’t criticize our right to do these things and don’t say things didn’t happen that did happen.”
Republican whines and temper tantrums are really unbecoming. It’s kind of like a spoiled athlete with multi-million dollar contracts whining that he/she doesn’t get enough money. Republicans are acting like children. What is it with Republicans during Bush’s 2nd term? The terrible twos, is it?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
<U>Contact Your Representatives</U> I’ll list the key GOP Senators to Contact below
- We’ve got McCain and Chafee voting against. We need 51 votes total to vote nay on the nuclear option. 44Dems + 1Ind + 2GOP = 47. Out of the following 6, we need 4.
- GOP Senators to Contact:
461 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Hagel, Chuck (R – NE)
248 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Murkowski, Lisa – (R – AK)
709 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Snowe, Olympia (R – ME)
154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Specter, Arlen (R – PA)
711 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Warner, John (R – VA)
225 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
<U>Contact the Media</U> (esp. you folks in RI, PA, MT, etc.) The Republicans coined the term “nuclear option” and have been using it for months. They don’t get to change the term just because it doesn’t poll well. If the media is going to bend over for the Republicans, then, call the media on their cowardice! Demand that the media be accurate in its reporting. Also, write in support of the Democrats on the filibuster issue.
* DNC Media Tool
- “I wish the Republicans would heed the Democrats’ advice and reverse the Republican ethics rules changes designed for Tom DeLay, and work with the Democrats on fixing our economy. The Republicans should also allow the filibuster to remain intact; if they go through with the nuclear option, it’ll only prove that the Republicans are more interested in arrogant power grabs than trying to solve the nation’s economic problems.”
- “I don’t know why the Republicans are whining about the judiciary. Most of the judges on our federal appeals courts were nominated by Republicans, and seven out of nine Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republicans. The Republicans have gone so far as to make the false claim that Bush is the first president to have his nominees blocked by filibuster. Apparently, the Republicans have conveniently forgotten that they did t he exact same thing to many Clinton nominees. The Republicans are acting like the third grader on the playground who is throwing a tantrum after losing in a game of kickball.
- “After Sen. Cornyn’s over the top remarks regarding violence against judges, I think our judiciary needs protection from the radical right and the Republicans. Keep the filibuster.”
- “It’s shameful that Republicans are choosing to align themselves with extremist Christian evangelicals who have called the Catholic church a “false church” and demonized other religions, all in the name of getting support for the filibuster. Republican extremism is bad for this country. I urge all Republicans to preserve the filibuster.”
You get the idea.
If you know of any other judges who have been filibustered, please list ’em below.