Frist Defends Anti-Filibuster Effort on Pro-Life Judges in Broadcast

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Frist Defends Anti-Filibuster Effort on Pro-Life Judges in Broadcast

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 25, 2005

Washington, DC ( — At a rally with more than 6,000 participants in Louisville, broadcast to hundreds of churches across the country, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist drummed up support for his impending efforts to stop abortion advocates from using filibusters to deny votes on President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks.

First said it was not a "radical" idea to give judicial nominees an up or down vote.

"I don’t think it’s radical to ask senators to vote. I don’t think it’s radical to expect senators to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities," Frist told the audience.

"Either confirm the nominees or reject them," Frist said. "Don’t leave them hanging."

During the speech, Frist distanced himself from other Congressional lawmakers who criticized judges who allowed Terri Schaivo’s estranged husband to starve her to death.

"When we think judicial decisions are outside mainstream American values, we will say so," Frist said. "But we must also be clear that the balance of power among all three branches requires respect — not retaliation. I won’t go along with that."

Leading Democrats put out a press release Monday responding to the telecast.

"We cannot let up now," the Democratic Senate campaign committee said. "Just because Frist chose his words a little carefully last night doesn’t mean that he’s not still planning to bring forward the nuclear option in the next few weeks."

Frist should "stop dividing Americans along religious lines" and "stop trying to do away with the filibuster as we know it," the group said.

Democrats also complained that backers of the anti-filibuster rally were dividing people along religious lines.

Responding the criticism of the "Justice Sunday" telecast, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said, "We are not saying that people who disagree with us are not people of faith."

James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, also spoke during the broadcast, said the Supreme Court’s pro-abortion majority "are unelected and unaccountable and arrogant and imperious and determined to redesign the culture according to their own biases and values, and they’re out of control.”

Sponsors of the hour-long broadcast said it reached 61 million households and it was broadcast from a Baptist church each of Louisville.