The Wall Street Journal reports that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is planning to lead a strategy to shut down the Senate unless President Bush’s many appellate court nominations are given hearings and fair up-or-down votes (which is the Senate’s constitutional duty). In light of the extreme importance of appointing well-qualified, originalist judges to the federal bench, we applaud his leadership in forcing the Senate to do its job when it comes to judges. Excerpt from WSJ article:
The Democratic Senate has confirmed a mere six nominees with no plans in sight to move the remaining 11 forward. Judicial nominees rarely are confirmed in the final months of a President's second term, so the clock is running out. Democrats figure they'll retake the White House in November, and they don't mind leaving the courts short-handed for another year or two as they stall for liberal nominees.
Mr. Specter says he has recommended that Republicans "go full steam ahead" until Democrats agree to hold confirmation votes.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently gave a speech in the Senate on the importance of making progress on judges. He also published an opinion piece in the National Review on the same topic. Excerpt:
The Constitution gives to the president authority to nominate and appoint federal judges. The Senate provides advice about whether the president should appoint his judicial nominees by giving or withholding consent through up or down votes. That is what the Constitution assigns us to do. That is what Americans expect the Senate to do. That is what the Senate is failing to do.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also urged action on judges.
It’s time our friends on the other side stop blaming others for their own failures to act on judicial nominations. If they don’t, Republicans will be forced to consider other options.
Improving the makeup of the federal bench and making sure there are enough judges to promote justice in America is one of the most important issues in our country. We applaud the efforts by Senators McConnell, Specter, and Hatch to make progress on this front.
Contact Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and urge him to get to work on judicial nominations. Also, contact both your senators and urge them to push for progress on judicial nominations.