Saxby Chambliss

Twelve Republicans Who Broke Their Pledge To Oppose Judicial Filibusters

After waging an unprecedented campaign of obstructionism against President Obama’s nominees, Republicans are now crying crocodile tears over a rules change that would end the filibuster on certain judicial nominees.

NBC News points out that Republicans are not blocking judicial nominees over “concerns about ideology or qualifications, but over the president’s ability to appoint ANYONE to these vacancies.” This unprecedented blockade leaves Democrats with few options, as dozens of nominees are left unable to receive a simple confirmation vote.

It’s even harder to be sympathetic to Senate Republicans when you remember that just a few years ago, many of the very same Republicans who are today filibustering President Obama’s nominees willy-nilly were vowing that they would never, ever filibuster judicial nominees. Some even declared that judicial filibusters were unconstitutional and un-American.

But that was before there was a Democrat in the White House.

We take a look back at some of the Senate’s most strident opponents of filibustering judicial nominees, turned master obstructers.

1. Mitch McConnell (KY)

“Any President’s judicial nominees should receive careful consideration. But after that debate, they deserve a simple up-or-down vote” (5/19/05).

“Let's get back to the way the Senate operated for over 200 years, up or down votes on the president's nominee, no matter who the president is, no matter who's in control of the Senate” (5/22/05).

2. John Cornyn (TX)

“[F]ilibusters of judicial nominations are uniquely offensive to our nation’s constitutional design” (6/4/03).

“[M]embers of this distinguished body have long and consistently obeyed an unwritten rule not to block the confirmation of judicial nominees by filibuster. But, this Senate tradition, this unwritten rule has now been broken and it is crucial that we find a way to ensure the rule won’t be broken in the future” (6/5/03).

3. Lamar Alexander (TN)

“If there is a Democratic President and I am in this body, and if he nominates a judge, I will never vote to deny a vote on that judge” (3/11/03).

“I would never filibuster any President's judicial nominee. Period” (6/9/05).

4. John McCain (AZ)

“I’ve always believed that [judicial nominees deserve yes-or-no votes]. There has to be extraordinary circumstances to vote against them. Elections have consequences” (6/18/13).

5. Chuck Grassley (IA)

It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60” (2/11/03).

“[W]e can’t find anywhere in the Constitution that says a supermajority is needed for confirmation” (5/8/05).

6. Saxby Chambliss (GA)

“I believe [filibustering judicial nominees] is in violation of the Constitution” (4/13/05).

7. Lindsey Graham (SC)

“I think filibustering judges will destroy the judiciary over time. I think it’s unconstitutional” (5/23/05).

8. Johnny Isakson (GA)

I will vote to support a vote, up or down, on every nominee. Understanding that, were I in the minority party and the issues reversed, I would take exactly the same position because this document, our Constitution, does not equivocate” (5/19/05).

9. James Inhofe (OK)

“This outrageous grab for power by the Senate minority is wrong and contrary to our oath to support and defend the Constitution” (3/11/03).

10. Mike Crapo (ID)

“[T]he Constitution requires the Senate to hold up-or-down votes on all nominees” (5/25/05).

11 . Richard Shelby (AL)

“Why not allow the President to do his job of selecting judicial nominees and let us do our job in confirming or denying them? Principles of fairness call for it and the Constitution requires it” (11/12/03).

12. Orrin Hatch (UT)*

Filibustering judicial nominees is “unfair, dangerous, partisan, and unconstitutional” (1/12/05).

*Hatch claims he still opposes filibusters of judicial nominees and often votes “present” instead of “no” on cloture votes. But as Drew noted: “Because ending a filibuster requires 60 ‘yes’ votes, voting ‘present’ is identical to voting ‘no.’ Hatch’s decision to vote ‘present’ is an affirmative decision to continue the filibuster.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/4/13

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/22/13

Right Wing Round-Up

Those Delicate Republicans

Ever since Barak Obama was elected to the White House and Democrats took control of Congress, we have heard nothing from Republicans and right-wing activists but a stream of rhetoric about how they are all a bunch of Nazi-socialist-Marxist-communist-baby-killing-America-hating-anti-God radicals bent on turning this nation into a totalitarian dictatorship. 

Today, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid likened the current Republican attempt to stop healthcare reform to past efforts to stymie progress, and the Republicans are absolutely outraged:

Reid started by mimicking Republicans whom he claims have said: "'Slow down, stop everything, let's start over."

"You think you've heard these same excuses before? You're right," he continued. "In this country there were those who dug in their heels and said, 'Slow down, it's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough' -- about slavery. When women wanted to vote [they said] 'Slow down, there will be a better day to do that -- the day isn't quite right...'"

He finished with: "When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today."

Reaction was swift. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is black, questioned Reid's state of mind -- and demanded an apology.

“Harry Reid is under immense pressure to pass this 2,000 page experiment on our nation’s health – an experiment that creates a new $1 trillion dollar federal entitlement program by cutting $500 billion from Medicare, all at a time when our country is in miserable debt and facing an extreme job crisis. The pressure has apparently led Senator Reid not only to make offensive and absurd statements, but also to lose his ability to reason... Having made this disgraceful statement on the floor of the United States Senate, Mr. Reid should immediately apologize on the Senate floor to his colleagues, to his constituents, and to the American people. If he is going to stand by these statements, the Democrats must immediately reconsider his fitness to lead them.”

Senate Republicans were also furious, reported POLITICO's Meredith Shiner, who went to their Q-and-A Monday.

"They are so desperate that it is unbelievable. And for Senator Reid to go out this morning and make such an outlandish statement like he made, just is another indication of the desperation that the Democrats are showing and the pressure that they're feeling," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA).

Said Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.). "I think it's beneath the dignity of the majority leader, for one. I think it's beneath the dignity of the make any kind of outlandish claim similar to what was made on the Senate floor this morning, and I personally am insulted by the Majority Leader."

Remember when Michael Steele likened President Obama to Stalin and Kim Jong-Il? And he's demanding an apology?  Are you kidding me? 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Despite the fact that the Right is rallying behind his primary opponent, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist holds a comfortable lead.
  • WorldNetDaily reports that, in addition to Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Mel Martinez and Sen. Saxby Chambliss have vowed to oppose hate crimes legislation.
  • Roy Moore claims that, in the first eleven days of his gubernatorial campaign, he's raised money from all 67 counties in Alabama and every state in the union.
  • An ally of Ken Hutcherson is running for school board in Washington state.
  • Finally, a group called the Progressive Group for Independent Business is bringing Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh to Canada to raise $1 million for candidates running in the next election.

Musgrave Finally Surfaces

Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who lost her re-election bid nearly a month ago, has yet to call her opponent or even officially concede the race and has, since Election Day, steadfastly refused to talk to the media. But it looks like someone was able to convince her to channel her bitterness and anger into helping mobilize voters to support Sen. Saxby Chambliss in his run-off election in Georgia yesterday:

In her first public comments on her re-election loss - made in a mass phone call to Georgia voters - Rep. Marilyn Musgrave blamed her defeat on "leftist special interests" that "smothered the truth with vicious attacks and lies."

Musgrave's remarks came in a so-called "robo-call" that went out to 275,000 Georgia voters Monday and Tuesday on behalf of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican who was forced into a runoff with Democratic challenger Jim Martin. The election was Tuesday and Chambliss won.

"Hello, I'm Marilyn Musgrave. Until last month I was the congresswoman from Colorado," Musgrave said in the call, which was paid for by the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, a political committee that supports anti-abortion candidates.

"Leftist special interests from around the country poured money into my district to defeat me. They overwhelmed us with money. And they smothered the truth with vicious attacks and lies.

"We are seeing the same pattern in Georgia. Pro-abortion radicals and liberal activists won't stop until they have a chokehold on our government. You can stop them with your vote. It's too late to change the results in Colorado, but on Tuesday you can cast your vote for Saxby Chambliss.”

Musgrave hadn’t spoken publicly since shortly after vote totals started coming in the evening of Nov. 4. The three-term Republican incumbent was crushed by Democratic challenger Betsy Markey, 56 percent to 44 percent.

The incumbent never conceded defeat or called Markey to congratulate her. Musgrave hasn’t given an interview since the election.

The robo-call was made on behalf of “Team Sarah,” which was created by the Susan B. Anthony List to build “a coalition of women dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process” … Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said she contacted Musgrave on Monday about recording a robo-call for the Georgia race and Musgrave agreed.

“She truly is one of the best people I know, and a lot of money can go a long way toward painting a completely different picture, you know, kind of painting a straw woman, so to speak,” Dannenfelser said in a phone interview.

Dannenfelser said Musgrave recorded the call for Chambliss because “she wanted to do something instructive and help somebody else.”

You can hear her robo-call here.

Anti-Immigrant Group's Membership Balloons

The anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA is crowing about its amazing growth: According to the New York Times, the group’s membership has reached 447,000, compared with less than 50,000 in 2004.

The “little-known” outfit has become a key player in the immigration debate, according to the Times, coordinating daily with well-known groups like Eagle Forum and the Heritage Foundation and working closely with Congress. “We’re involved in weekly discussions with Numbers USA and other immigration-control groups as part of a team effort,” said Rep. Brian Bilbray, the successor to Tom Tancredo as head of the Immigration Reform Caucus.

NumbersUSA’s success in capitalizing on opposition to comprehensive immigration reform bills considered in Congress recently stems in part from its efforts to channel raw anti-immigrant sentiments, which congeal around NumbersUSA’s explicitly restrictionist stance, into what Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a “kinder, gentler” movement:

“Numbers USA initiated and turbocharged the populist revolt against the immigration reform package,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy group. “Roy Beck takes people who are upset about illegal immigration for different reasons, including hostility to Latino immigrants, and disciplines them so their message is based on policy rather than race-based arguments or xenophobia.”

But it also stems from a savvy – and numbers-intensive – use of the Right’s Internet marketing industry. During the debate over immigration, it’s been hard for conservatives on the Internet to avoid NumbersUSA. Those who subscribe to right-wing e-mail lists – such as those of GOPUSA, NewsMax, and Human Events – have received countless “sponsored” or “third-party” e-mail messages from NumbersUSA over the past months, sometimes multiple copies in the same week. Here’s one received via Human Events, and another similar message sent through GOPUSA. Both feature an “instant poll” on whether “Kennedy’s Illegal Alien Amnesty Should Fail” (95 percent of respondents agree), taking you to a site where you can send a fax to Congress and join NumbersUSA.

These spurts of faxes and e-mails, driven by NumbersUSA e-mail, can have a heady impact on members of Congress. “You have to give them credit: The phone calls, the faxes, the people who show up at town halls and meetings — you have to say NumbersUSA is behind a fair amount of that,” said Sharry of the National Immigration Forum.

Sharry acknowledged NumbersUSA's influence on lawmakers, pointing to Georgia's two Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. The two, who helped write the immigration bill, were immediately in NumbersUSA's crosshairs. Both have withdrawn their support, saying the bill fails to provide adequate border security.

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