In a letter  to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert today urged the Committee to reject pressure from the White House and Republican supporters to speed up consideration of President Bush’s judicial nominees in the final months of his presidency. Instead, Kolbert writes, it is time to invoke the “Thurmond Rule,” a longstanding Senate practice of processing only non-controversial judicial nominees in the months preceding a presidential election.
Kolbert’s letter notes that under Sen. Leahy’s leadership, the judicial vacancy rate has been cut in half, and that President Bush’s nominees have fared far better than President Clinton’s nominees fared when the Republicans held the Senate majority.
Hundreds of judges named by President Bush, notes Kolbert’s letter, “are actively dismantling constitutional and statutory protections for workers, for consumers, for women, for minorities, and for the environment. They are closing the courthouse doors to ordinary Americans seeking justice, making it harder for individuals even to get a day in court when they have been wronged.”
“At this point in the active presidential election season, it is time for the Committee to say enough to such judges, not to speed up consideration of their nominations,” says the letter. “If President Bush cannot fill existing vacancies with mainstream, non-controversial nominees, then it should be up to the next President to do so.”
People For the American Way is a nationwide advocacy organization that works to protect and advance core constitutional values, including a federal judiciary that upholds individual Americans’ rights, opportunities, and legal protections.