Senator Attacks Pro-Life Groups on Ads For Filibuster Rules Change

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Attacks Pro-Life Groups on Ads For Filibuster Rules Change Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 21
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A Colorado senator is unhappy with pro-life groups that are running ads in various states seeking to drum up support for changing the rules to prevent filibusters from halting approval of President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees.

The political arms of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council launched a new ad campaign calling on grassroots pro-life advocates to make their views known concerning the judicial system and the need for reform.

"We’ve seen enough nonsense on the federal courts, from judges who demonstrated no mercy for Terri Schiavo [and] no humanity in protecting the practice of partial-birth abortion," the ad says.

But, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a freshman Democrat, says he doesn’t like the ads and called the groups "un-Christian" for running them.

"I think the ads are wrong,” Salazar told the Longmont, Colorado newspaper. “They orchestrate a position to break the rules and support the abuse of power we see here in Washington, D.C., today.”

The comments refer to a plan by Senate Majority Leader Bill First, a Tennessee Republican, to change the Senate rules to reduce the number of votes needed to stop filibusters on judicial nominees.

Currently, several of President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks have enough support to be approved, but not enough to overcome the supermajority of votes needed to stop a filibuster.

“What this nuclear option is all about is an attempt to break the rules,” Salazar told the newspaper. “People think they can break the rules because they have the keys to the kingdom all in the hands of one party.”

“I think it’s wrong for Jim Dobson to take his right-wing conservative organization and make it an appendage of the Republican Party,” Salazar told the Longmont paper. “It is Jim Dobson and Focus on the Family who are being un-Christian.”

Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, defended the ads, saying, "What we have witnessed these last three years is an unprecedented manhandling of Senate tradition."

"Never before in 216 years has the Senate employed a filibuster against judicial nominees who clearly have enough support to be confirmed. Senate Democrats are not just filibustering these nominees — they are filibustering democracy itself," Dobson added.

The ads will be run in 20 states and are seeking to rally supporters to contact senators who have not made their position known or, like Salazar, are lawmakers who the group hopes will change their mind.

Despite the criticism, Salazar may still support Bush’s nominees.

"I have not made up my mind on any of the nominations of the president," Salazar said. "I may not filibuster any of the nominees before the Senate."