Monday, May 23, 2005

Compromise Reached Over "Nuclear Option"

We shall see.....

First thing’s first: we defused the “nuclear option!”


Back when most of the public had no idea what Senate Majority Leader Frist was planning, and many progressives had written off any chance to save the filibuster, you fought with “People For” to raise the profile of this battle and turn it around.    You were part of the checks and balances.   This conclusion to our nuclear confrontation has flaws, but we have preserved the filibuster for future nomination battles – particularly the Supreme Court. 


We must now move together to defeat the radical nominees who will have a vote on the Senate floor. 


As a result of the agreement reached by seven Republicans and seven Democrats, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor were, unfortunately, promised votes.  These are out-of-the-mainstream jurists who threaten our rights and liberties.

  • Justice Priscilla Owen has a consistent record of judicial activism in favor of corporations and against consumers and individual rights.  Even her current and former colleagues have criticized her efforts to rewrite the law from the bench to impose her own beliefs.
  • Justice Janice Rogers Brown has a record of hostility to workers’ rights and victims of discrimination.   She said that 1937 (the year that the courts upheld New Deal legislation) "mark[ed] the triumph of our own socialist revolution."
  • William Pryor is a leading architect of the recent "states’ rights" or "federalism" movement to limit the authority of Congress to enact laws protecting individual and other rights.  He has advocated the view that the Constitution should not apply to some of the most critical issues pertaining to individual rights and freedoms — including reproductive choice, gay rights, and school prayer — and that these matters should be decided by the states, based on majority vote, regardless of whether constitutional rights are violated.

More on the nominees:


To prevent confirmation of these nominees, we will need every Senate Democrat, the one independent senator, and at least six Republican senators to oppose.


So we must forcefully make our case to every Senator in the chamber who will listen to reason – especially those who were involved in the compromise.   The negotiators are Senators Byrd, DeWine, Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, Lieberman, Salazar, Inouye, Warner, McCain, Snowe, Collins, Graham and Chafee. 


Many Republican senators had openly expressed their doubts about the wisdom of the nuclear option.  Now that they have guaranteed votes to some of the filibustered nominees, we must convince them that those nominees do not deserve confirmation.  It’s up to us to make sure that getting a vote does not mean getting confirmed.


Democratic Senators who played a role in the deal should take the lead in opposing these awful nominees.   They have an obligation to demand that those with whom they made the deal explain why confirming these divisive nominees is a good thing for America. 


Thank you again for your time, funds and commitment.  Everyone in Washington knows what a formidable team we have become, and progressive leaders around the nation (including prominent elected officials) have showered praise and thanks upon our efforts.  You should know how much credit your work has garnered.


Ralph Neas




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