We Need a Judicial Debate that is Really About the Judiciary

Posted Nov. 12, 2003

Senate Republican leaders have stepped up their partisan politicking on judicial nominations, bringing nominees up for repeated cloture votes that they know will fail and scheduling a 30-hour debate this week surrounding three controversial nominees as well as a measure sponsored by Majority Leader Bill Frist that would effectively make it impossible to filibuster judicial nominees.

Although this week’s marathon debate is diverting congressional energy from other priorities to allow for a bit of televised Democrat-bashing, Democratic senators should welcome the opportunity to make their case for the importance of the federal judiciary and the need to stand firm against judges whose records demonstrate that they are not committed to protecting Americans’ rights and legal protections. The nation urgently needs a public debate about the role of the judiciary and the threat posed by the campaign to fill appeals court vacancies with ideologues who would dismantle the constitutional framework that allows the federal government to protect individual rights and promote the common good.

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