GOP Leaders Force Cloture Vote to Serve Bush Campaign Strategy
Senate Republican leaders failed today in an effort to force a final Senate vote on appeals court nominee William Myers, an underqualified ideologue whose nomination has created intense controversy, including opposition by some environmental protection advocates and Native American organizations who have never before opposed a federal judicial nominee.
“Senate Republican leaders knew they would not win today’s vote,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “This vote was about hijacking the time and energies of the U.S. Senate to create another phony talking point for the Bush campaign.”
Neas praised Senators who voted against cutting off debate on the Myers nomination, saying they were carrying out their constitutional obligation to keep nominees with disturbing records from taking powerful lifetime seats on the federal courts. The vote was 53-44, well short of the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate.
“The White House and RNC are cranking up the right-wing echo chamber with deceptive charges that ‘obstructionism’ is keeping qualified judges off the bench,” said Neas. “The truth is that the vast majority of Bush’s nominees have been confirmed by the Senate. Only some of those with the most troubling records and judicial philosophies have been blocked. William Myers’ thin qualifications, ideological extremism, and questionable behavior as a public official make it clear that he should be kept off the federal bench.”
Neas said that the Bush administration’s demonstrated intention to use judicial nominations as a tool of partisan politics – and the willingness of GOP Senate leaders to play along – make the Senate filibuster the last check in the system, and the only effective mechanism for Democratic Senators to try to encourage greater bipartisan consultation and cooperation.