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Monday, July 23, 2007

Republicans Force Reid Back into the Ring

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke out about the Southwick nomination, responding to Senators who have accused the Senate Judiciary Committee of stalling and threatened to shut down the Senate in retaliation. Senator Reid spoke about how quickly the Senate has moved on President Bush’s nominees:
So far this year we have confirmed three court of appeals nominees…. We have also confirmed 22 district court nominees, and we continue to vote on those at a steady pace. The judicial confirmation process is working well. We have confirmed 25 judges. It is certainly working much better than it worked when there was a Republican Senate processing President Clinton's nominees.
Senator Reid went on to discuss the nomination of Judge Southwick and the absurd threats of some Republicans:
The Judiciary Committee has not yet voted on Judge Southwick. But as reported in the press, some Republicans are already threatening to retaliate against the rejection of the Southwick nomination by slowing down Senate business. How much more could they slow it down? What has gone on this year is untoward. Cloture has been filed about 45 times on things that, really, I don't understand why they are doing what they do.
After detailing some of the issues with Judge Southwick’s nomination, Reid reiterated the Senate Judiciary Committee’s role in vetting the president’s nominees:
We have held a hearing. I repeat, during the Clinton administration, almost 70 languished with no hearings. If Southwick has been unable to convince Judiciary Committee members of suitability for the Federal bench, that is his misfortune. … Senator Leahy has stated that anytime Senators Lott and Cochran ask him to put him on the calendar for a vote, he will do so. They haven't asked him to do that yet. …

Republican Senators may disagree with the decision of the Judiciary Committee when and if it comes, but they should not treat it as an affront or an outrage. It is simply the way that the Founders envisioned the Senate would work as a partner with the President in deciding who is entitled to lifetime appointments to the Federal bench.
We commend Reid for speaking out about the Southwick nomination, the importance of judicial nominees and the Senate’s roll in the confirmation process. We hope that the senators on the judiciary committee will take this obligation seriously and not confirm any more judges who have not proven that they are qualified for lifetime appointments.

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