Senate Democrat Defends Position on Bush Judicial Nominees

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrat Defends Position on Bush Judicial Nominees Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 9
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended his party’s position against changing Senate rules to allow a lower number of votes needed to cut off debate on President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees and allow an up or down vote.

In his party’s weekly radio address, Reid, a Nevada Democrat, blamed Senate Republicans for wanting to "rewrite the rules so that they can get their way."

Reid has threatened to bring a halt of other important Senate legislation if Republicans use their majority to change the rules. Senate Republican leader Bill Frist, of Tennessee, is considering passing a rules change to make stopping filibusters only on judicial nominees a majority vote rather than needed 60 senators.

Without the filibuster, however, Reid said the Senate "becomes merely a rubber stamp for the president."

"It would mean that one political party — be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow — gets to have all the say over our nation’s highest courts," he added.

Reid also attacked House Republican lead Tom DeLay, of Texas, who has been speaking out against the judges that violated a Congressional bill on Terri Schiavo requiring her starvation death to be stopped. They decided otherwise and he has suggested possible inquiries and even impeachment if necessary.

Without naming him, Reid said DeLay was "threatening judges who protect our rights."

However, DeLay wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Times saying he never threatened any judges.

"Mischaracterizing a call for the judiciary to publicly explain its reasons for taking an innocent woman’s life as threatening to ‘our fundamental democracy’ reveals either ignorance of or contempt for the framework of checks and balances that makes our constitutional republic possible," DeLay wrote.

"The judiciary, like the executive, is independent of Congress, but at the same time subject to congressional oversight," he said. "If Congress believes a woman’s constitutional rights were denied, we have not only a right, but an obligation, to get some answers from the people responsible."