People For the American Way Foundation

Sessions’ ‘Extraordinary’ Filibuster Falls Short Judge David Hamilton Advances

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2009

Contact: Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

In response to the successful cloture vote on the nomination of Judge David Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:

“After months of waiting, the path has finally been cleared for President Obama’s first judicial nominee Judge David Hamilton to join the Seventh Circuit. The vote is a welcome development, but it should not have been necessary in the first place. The attempted filibuster lacked merit and was intended solely to obstruct.

“It was just a few short years ago that Republicans like Senator Jeff Sessions denounced judicial filibusters in the strongest possible language and pursued the ‘nuclear option.’ Sessions even said judicial filibusters violate the Constitution. But some time after November 4, 2008, his interpretation of the Constitution must have changed dramatically.

“Now Sessions and many of his colleagues are vehemently pro-filibuster. They didn’t just flip-flop a bit. They went from one extreme to the other, and are seeking to obstruct the President by blocking votes on crucial nominees. Senate Democrats must see to it that this effort fails.

“Sessions claimed that Judge Hamilton an experienced judge and consensus pick met the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ standard of the Gang of 14. But in doing so, he rendered the term meaningless and revealed the willingness of most Senate Republicans to filibuster virtually any nominee put forward by the President. In response, Senate Democrats should isolate the obstructionists and push forward with the agenda, and nominations, that they and President Obama were elected to achieve.”