Bush breaks Judicial Filibuster

by on February 20th, 2004

Taking action that Senate Democrats would not, and Senate Republicans lacked the strength to force, President Bush has made a recess appointment of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Republicans in the Senate have been unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to end Democrat filibusters of several judicial nominees. In announcing the decision Bush said

A minority of Democratic senators has been using unprecedented obstructionist tactics to prevent him and other qualified nominees from receiving up-or-down votes. Their tactics are inconsistent with the Senate’s constitutional responsibility and are hurting our judicial system.

The announcement was followed the expected criticisms from the expected sources.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee said

Actions like this show the American people that this White House will stop at nothing to try to turn the independent federal judiciary into an arm of the Republican Party

What probably worries Leahy and Democrats the most is that actions like this show Americans, yet again, that George Bush will take action when action is necessary.

New York Senator Charles Schumer claims bush is using recess appointments to score points with conservative voters, and in a comment that Senate Republicans should use against the next filibuster, added

Regularly circumventing the advise and consent process is not the way to change the tone in Washington.

It seems to me that if the Democrats were not regularly circumventing the advise and consent process, recess appointments would not be necessary. If they do not believe a nominee is qualified they should have the courage to make their case and allow the Senate to weigh the evidence and vote.

Stephen Macklin