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Coalition Letter

 

 

Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters

 

Open Letter to the U.S. Senate

 


 

         

May 19, 2005

 

United States Senate

U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC

Dear Senators: 

As the representatives of millions of American voices, we write to urge you to move forward with judicial filibuster reform at the earliest possible time and well before a Supreme Court vacancy should occur. 

 

We believe that short of a compromise that guarantees an up or down vote at the end of debate, the Constitutional Option proposed by Senate leadership will serve to honor the Constitution, restore Senate tradition, and protect judicial independence.  

 

We believe that generations of Americans are called at moments to lay foundations for the future, and that this is one such moment. 

 

The independence of the judiciary was a core reason for our national birth.  The threat to the independence of the judiciary was high among the grievances that our Founding Fathers listed to King George III in the Declaration of Independence.  

 

In recent times, partisan special interests have threatened judicial independence again by inserting ideology into the Senate confirmation process of federal judges.  Now the Minority has changed 215 years of Senate tradition by abusing the filibuster for the first time against nominees with clear majority support. 

 

We believe that in the hierarchy of conservative principles, the judiciary’s independence is primary.  The Senate must act as steward of the federal courts by returning the power to confirm judges to the Constitution’s simple majority requirement.  While it is the right of the President to expect the Senate to give Advice and Consent within a reasonable period of time, it is the duty of every Senator to offer Advice and Consent through an honest, up or down vote.    

 

Moreover, the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster is a device intended to undermine the prerogatives of the Presidency as well as the tradition of the Senate.  It must not stand.  You must not waver. 

 

The President, this President, must have the freedom to nominate appellate judges and Supreme Court justices who will restore the courts to their constitutional role. 

 

We are convinced that the Constitutional Option restores Senate tradition and that the proof of history is overwhelming that this conservative initiative will not threaten but will restore Senate debate rules and tradition.     

As you know, unlimited debate in the Senate ended in 1917 when President Wilson demanded that the Senate not use the filibuster on a matter of national security.  The last amendment to the cloture threshold came in 1975 – thirty years ago.  For three decades, there has been a broad consensus supporting that threshold, at least for legislative filibusters.  In 1995, only nineteen (19) Democrat senators voted to impose a 51vote rule to end debate after three weeks.  That proposal’s purpose, however, was to limit the legislative filibuster.  Senate Republicans were a new majority that year, but unanimously opposed the change.  The Democratic leadership and a majority of Senate Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the proposal, demonstrating again the two century old consensus on maintaining the legislative filibuster.   

 

That failed vote in 1995 and the absence of any other amendment efforts for three decades is ample evidence of bipartisan agreement to preserve the legislative filibuster.  Clearly, however, the partisan abuse of the cloture rule in the last Congress to obstruct honest votes on judicial nominees has fractured the consensus as to filibusters on nominations.   

We understand that Article I of the Constitution allows the Senate to adopt rules for itself, but that right belongs to this Senate as much as it did to the first Senate.  We call for a restoration of Senate traditions, returning to the majority vote on Advice and Consent the Constitution mandates.  

 

We ask you also to put partisan advantage aside.  While there is no doubt that the Minority’s filibusters have helped Republicans win recent elections, we are certain that Republicans will do the right thing for themselves and the Nation by ending the partisan obstruction now.    

 

We call on the Senate Leadership and the Republican Majority to act to end the filibusters on appellate nominees now, and well before a Supreme Court vacancy occurs. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

C. Boyden Gray, Committee for Justice

Dr. John C. Eastman, The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence

Harvey Tettlebaum, Republican National Lawyers Association

James J. Fotis, Law Enforcement Alliance of America

Paul Weyrich, Free Congress Foundation

Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family

David A. Keene, American Conservative Union

James D. Daly, Focus on the Family

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

Connie Mackey, Family Research Council

Gary L. Bauer, American Values

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

L. Brent Bozell III, Conservative Victory Committee

Dr. William A. Donohue, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America

Dr. Carl Herbster, AdvanceUSA

Richard Land, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Matt Kibbe, Freedom Works

Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice

Roy Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Niger Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Lanier Swann, Concerned Women for America

Dr. Keith Wiebe, American Association of Christian Schools 

Brian McCabe, Progress for America

Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries

Dr, Gary Cass, Center for Reclaiming America

Phyllis Berry Myers, New Black Leadership Coalition

Kay R. Daly, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Jeffrey Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom

Rick Scarborough, Vision America

Ron Robinson, Young America's Foundation

Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network

James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association

Peggy Nance, Kids First Coalition

Bishop Keith Butler

Pastor Rod Parsley, Center for Moral Clarity

Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition

Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition

Austin Ruse, Culture of Life Foundation

Thomas Glessner, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates

Leslee Unruh, Abstinence Clearinghouse

Thomas A. Shields, Coalition for Marriage and Family

Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute

Warren Kelley, National Center for Freedom & Renewal

Robert B. Carlson, American Civil Rights Union
Chuck Muth , Citizen Outreach

William Greene, RightMarch.com

C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Phil Burress, Citizens for Community Values

Alvin Williams, Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC)

Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association

Stephen M. Crampton, AFA Center for Law & Policy

Bill May, Catholics for the Common Good

Rev. Rusty Thomas, Eijah Ministries

Dr. Patricia McEwen, Life Coalition International

Rev. Keith Tucci, Life Coalition International

Kelly Shackelford. Liberty Legal Institute

Richard Ford, Heritage Alliance

Karen Testerman, Cornerstone Policy Research

Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel

Peter A. Samuelson, Americans United for Life

Clarke D. Forsythe, Esq. AUL's Project on Law and Bioethics

Gregory K. Blankenship, Illinois Policy Institute

Irwin Essenfeld, Renew Illinois Foundation

Mary T Erickson, Illinois Citizens for Life

Thomas Smith, America 21 (Tennessee)

Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society, Pro-life Law Center (Chicago)

Russell Johnson, American Restoration Project (Pastor, Fairfield Christian Church, OH)

James E. Barrett, Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute

Diane Gramley, American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Dr. Ed Johnson, Minnesota Association of Christian Schools

Cathie Adams, Texas Eagle Forum

Kenneth Endean, Maine Association of Christian Schools

Michael N. Duff, United Families Idaho

Brad Fleming, Maryland Association of Christian Educators

Dr. Ronald Konopaski, United For Life- San Francisco 

Dr. Joe Haas, North Carolina Christian School Association

Robert E. Regier, South Dakota Family Policy Council

Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation of Kentucky

David Bydalek, Family First (Nebraska)

Len Munsil, The Center for Arizona Policy

Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana

Gary Glenn, American Family Association of Michigan

John Stemberger, Florida Family Action, Inc

Joe Bob Mizzell, Alabama Baptist Christian Life Commission

Tim Parish, Rocky Mountain Association of Christian Schools.

Dr. Ken Hutcherson, Antioch Bible Church, Redmond WA

William F. Large, Alaska Republican Party

Grant M. Lally, Irish American Republicans

Brian McCarthy, Irish-American Republicans

Don A. Daughtery, Wisconsin Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Maclin  Davis, Tennessee Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Mark E. Foster, Oregon Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Craig  Hymowitz, Philadelphia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Jefferson  Knight, Florida Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Paul D. Seyferth, Kansas Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Frank B. Strickland, Georgia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

William M. Todd, Ohio Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Corey R. Weber, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Thomas E. Wheeler, Indiana Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

William B. Sellers, Alabama Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Brian T. Egan, New York Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Ann Browning, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Cameron Quinn, Virginia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter

Rhet Miles, Chairman of the Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Committee

Ron Shuping, The Inspiration Television Networks

Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated Radio and TV host

Martha Zoller, Radio Talk Show Host and Political Analyst (Georgia)

Kevin P. Doran, Radio Talk Show host (New York)

Mike Siegel, Radio host and author of Power Talk: The Influence of Talk Radio

Chris Dickson. "The Dickson/Chappell Report", (Midwest)

Dom Giordano 1210 AM Radio (Philadelphia)

Adam McManus, Radio Host of "Take A Stand" (Texas)

Dave “Doc” Kirby, Radio Host (Alabama)

Inga Barks, Radio Host (CA)

Mark R. Levin, author of Men in Black

Clint Bolick, Esq. (Arizona)

 

 

 

Related Links

 

[History of Filibusters] [Judge Janice Brown] [Open Letter to Congress] [Op-Ed Article] [Press Release] [CORE Commercial]

 

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